Apple opened its fourth retail store at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota on Saturday.

MacCentral reports a cheering, thousand-strong crowd turning out to welcome the shop opening.

Many visitors travelled long distances to visit Apple's store, some came from abroad, and there was a scattering of European visitors. A few shoppers even arrived at 2am to get a good place in line for a first glance at Apple's retail gamble.

Apple will open its fifth store on August 25, at the Woodfield Shopping Centre in Schaumburg, Illinois.

On the risk of rolling out a chain of branded stores in a declining market, Ron Johnson, Apple's senior VP of retail, said he doesn't see the soft economy as a negative. "Apple is well financed and the best companies invest. Recessions always end - this is a great time for Apple," he asserted.