Nokia closing flagship stores in Chicago and NYC

Nokia flagship store in NYC.We’ll probably be seeing a lot more announcements like this one from Nokia in the coming months. The company confirmed today that it will be closing flagship stores in NYC and Chicago in early 2010, instead relying on third-party retailers for handset distribution.

This is really no surprise. The company has relatively small market penetration in the US compared to places like the UK, where it is also closing stores. The retail locations were really meant to educate consumers about Nokia products and give them a chance to see a different kind of handset. From the sound of things, the costs far outweigh the benefits, especially in a part of the world where most handsets are sold by carriers.

This was Nokia’s official statement:

“In North America, over 90 percent of consumer purchases are made through carriers – Nokia continues to support our relationship with carriers in this market, as well as the continued expansion of our retail partner network with the likes of Amazon and Best Buy (for example), in line with our strategy. As we continue to expand our services and solutions offerings across these various channels, we have decided to close the NY and Chicago stores to allow more concentration on our other channels.

The Flagship stores were originally conceived to inspire and educate consumers to the benefits of mobility through an innovative retail experience, and to broaden the appeal of the Nokia brand. Since opening the stores in NY and Chicago (2006), consumer awareness in the U.S. has grown substantially. Weighing those dynamics with Nokia’s clear strategy in North America, and our well-established retail channel with third parties, we will close these two stores (New York and Chicago) in early 2010.

This decision was made to create clear alignment with our local market strategy and, in addition, as part of a global realignment of our retail strategy in overall.”

Source: Engadget