White Plains, N.Y. - Nokia will close its only two flagship stores in the U.S. in early 2010 to focus on sales of locked phones to carriers and unlocked phones to retailers and distributors, the company
The company operates one store in New York and one in Chicago. Both opened in 2006.
"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," a spokeswoman said. "As we continue to expand our services and solutions offerings across these various channels, we have decided to close the New York and Chicago stores to allow more concentration on our other channels.
The 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," she added.
Globally, the company "is increasingly investing in its retail network," a prepared statement said. "Nokia flagship stores are only one aspect of Nokia's retail experience and marketplace strategy, which includes more than 1,000 Nokia-branded retail stores and their more than 650,000 retail outlets globally."
The company also added that Nokia is working to "optimize its retail approach according to various market and channel developments in the past few years" and ensure "that we have a workable model that is appropriately in-line with the strategy of each individual market. As a result, the company also closed a flagship store in London, England.
In the U.S., 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," the spokeswoman added. Since then, she said, Nokia's awareness "has grown substantially."