Nokia might be the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, but the company can’t seem to get any traction in the retail business. Just days after revealing it planned to shut down flagship stores in London and Sao Paolo, the company has said it plans to shut down its flagship stores in New York and Chicago as well in early 2010.
Nokia is characterizing the move as part of a larger reworking of its retail operations. The company notes that in the United States some 90 percent of phones are purchase through mobile operators; while Nokia partners with operators to offer handsets, the company’s stores offered devices without carrier partners or subsidies. For North American customers, Nokia says it plans to expand its retail partner network: the company already has relationships with Best Buy and Amazon.com.
The company says it is looking for a new location for its Sao Paolo store.
Nokia’s retail stores have tried to replicate some of the look and feel of Apple retail stores, and have featured trained staff (graduates of the “Nokia academy”). Nokia says it remains committed to its retail stores as a main sales channel.
Nokia had launched a dozen retail locations, including locations in Moscow and its home turf of Helsinki, Finland.
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