Just in time for Black Friday, Comcast Corp. will open one of its new Xfinity stores Thursday morning in a swank retail area near Tiffany's and Williams Sonoma on Walnut Street — the first Xfinity store in Center City that taps into downtown millennials and the fifth Xfinity store for the city overall.

Comcast, which launched its Xfinity Mobile smartphone business in 2017, is going upscale with some of its stores, converting legacy service centers in industrial parks and older neighborhoods where Comcast subscribers paid their bills or dropped off broken set-top boxes. The new Xfinity location, at 1429 Walnut, was formally an Armani store.

"We will be opening in all the large Comcast markets," Tom DeVito, the senior vice president for retail sales and service, said in the new store Tuesday morning. Construction workers were still finishing inside the store and washing the windows, less than 48 hours before opening. Referencing the old Comcast service centers that were often located in out-of-way locations, DeVito said: "We will be opening where people shop."

DeVito said that about 20 million people a year visit the 500 Xfinity stores nationwide.

Comcast tested the new Xfinity store format on consumer focus groups over the last two years in a leased warehouse near the Northeast Airport in Philadelphia, company officials said. The format highlights the company's multiple services — cable TV, smartphones, high-speed broadband, and home security and how they interact within a home.

Comcast says it will locate the new Xfinity stores in high-traffic retail areas, both in cities and mall areas, though it has no plans to greatly boost the number of stores.

Comcast vice president of retail merchandising and store design John Giacomazzi, who helped design the new Xfinity stores, speaks in the new Walnut Street store in Center City.
JOSEPH KACZMAREK / Comcast Corp.
Comcast vice president of retail merchandising and store design John Giacomazzi, who helped design the new Xfinity stores, speaks in the new Walnut Street store in Center City.

Comcast has hired longtime retail store designer John Giacomazzi, formerly of Sephora and Nordstrom, to assist with the new store design and layout. Consumers walk into the store and on the left are smartphones and on the right is an "entertainment center." There are also areas for broadband and even a small community area in the back of the store with a few seats for people to "hang out," Giacomazzi said.

Comcast says it has more than one million Xfinity Mobile phone lines. But this also brings Comcast into direct competition with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, which operate thousands of stores in the United States.

A sixth Philadelphia store is expected to open in Northeast Philadelphia by late December.