Samsung to launch US retail stores in smartphone push

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Samsung announced on Friday it will open three United States (US) retail stores to promote its Galaxy line of smartphones as the South Korean giant sets to launch an updated flagship handset.

The move ramps up Samsung’s efforts to compete on the home turf of Apple, which has hundreds of retail outlets in the US and around the world.

Samsung said in a statement it made the move after feedback from customers. “They told us that they love having the ability to walk into a store and experience how the latest technology from Samsung works together to create a unique, immersive experience,” the company said in a statement.

“Galaxy fans, in particular, mentioned that they were looking for a space to call their own, a place where they can get a feel for Samsung products first-hand.”

The new stores will be at the Americana at Brand mall in Los Angeles; Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York; and The Galleria in Houston, Texas. Samsung is holding a product launch on Wednesday in San Francisco amid speculation it may launch a folding smartphone, which would make it the first of the major handset makers in the segment.

A man rides down the escalator in front of an advertisement for the Samsung Galaxy Note9 at the company’s showroom in Seoul. – AFP

Samsung has previously opened pop-up stores in the US and has a centre showcasing its technology in New York City.

“Our new Samsung Experience Stores are spaces to experience and see Samsung technology brought to life, to empower people to do what they never thought was possible before,” said President of Samsung Electronics America YH Eom.

“We want to build a ‘playground’ for Samsung fans – a place to learn about and try out all of the amazing new products we have to offer.”

Samsung remained the number one global handset maker with a 20.8 per cent share in 2018 despite an eight per cent sales slump for the year, according to research firm IDC – which said last year showed the worst overall decline in sales for the smartphone sector.