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Nokia Opens 1st Of Four Company Stores

Nokia has opened the first of four company-operated boutique stores that will appear in high-rent shopping districts around the country over the next two years.

The first “Nokia Flagship Store” in the United States debuted June 24 on Chicago’s upscale “Magnificent Mile” shopping area on Michigan Avenue. It will be followed this fall with a second shop on Fifth Avenue in New York. Additional locations will be added throughout 2006 and 2007, the company said.

Nokia also operates a company store in Moscow.

Nokia described the upscale stores as interactive showcases that will feature “state-of-the-art” multimedia displays and will be staffed by highly trained graduates of the company’s Nokia Academy program. The stores are owned, managed and operated by Nokia, and will carry a wide range of its wireless products for demonstration and sale.

Cliff Crosbie, global retail and trade marketing director for Nokia, described the stores as “an important part of our overall retail strategy,” although the company will continue to depend on its more than 300,000 retail and operator outlets worldwide for the vast majority of its sales volume. He said the flagship stores will act as a retail laboratory that will benefit dealers by sharing insights on the most impacting methods of merchandising Nokia’s product line.

Nokia is placing the stores in premium locations to attract people “who truly enjoy the experience of shopping,” Crosbie added. “We think that the service, selection and surroundings that we are delivering will exceed the expectations of even these most experienced shoppers.” To that end, the Chicago store also features an in-store shop for Nokia’s luxury Vertu line, which features handsets crafted with gem stones, fine leather and precious metals.

Nokia joins a growing list of CE manufacturer-owned retail outlets, including Apple, Bose, Dell, Sony and, most recently, Pioneer. (See p. 1.)