10/1/2008 11:44:00 AM
Sony Ericsson pulls the plug on its UK flagship retail store
Sony Ericsson will pull the plug on its only UK high street store before the end of the year because it is failing to make a profit.
The large High Street Kensington store, which covers two units, was the first Sony Ericsson store in the world when it opened in November 2006 as a joint venture with Carphone Warehouse.
At the time of the opening in west London, the manufacturer’s senior executives said that although the store was primarily intended to showcase Sony Ericsson’s handsets, the store would ‘not be a money pit’.
Sony Ericsson has now ruled out any new stores in the UK and western Europe for the foreseeable future. Instead it has decided to put its retail resources into Asian markets, such as India, which it considers is a more effective use of its retail budget.
Lianne Norry, VP for retail marketing at Sony Ericsson, said: ‘The market conditions in western Europe don’t make it appropriate for us to open stores here.’ She added that the dominance of big multiple chains and operator stores in the UK market contributed to make it difficult for Sony Ericsson’s direct retail ambitions in the UK.
Norry (pictured) added: ‘We’ve learnt a lot of practical things about retail from the things we’ve trialled at High Street Kensington.’
Norry has previously worked at Motorola and Orange, and has been a senior figure at retailers outside the mobile industry.
Sony Ericsson still has 200 stores, largely in Asia, and is looking to take the number to 290 by the end of the year.
Nokia opened its first flagship UK store earlier this year on Regent Street but maintained that handset sales were not part of its key strategy for the store.