Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Nokia OYJ, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones by units, expects Brazil to move up the ranking of its biggest markets, even as the global economic slowdown puts pressure on consumer demand in Latin America’s largest economy.
“Our plan is to climb several positions this year,” said Almir Narcizo, 51, president of the company’s Brazilian unit, in a Nov. 7 interview. “It’s a combination of our success locally and the effects of the crisis in Europe.”
Last year Brazil climbed three positions to become Nokia’s sixth-biggest market among the 10 countries where it earns most of its revenue. Nokia had sales of 1.51 billion euros ($2.05 billion) in Brazil in 2010, according to Narcizo. Sales increased in the first half of 2011 as stores sought to replenish inventories after a busy Christmas period, Narcizo said. Second-half sales will be the same as a year earlier, he added.
Retail sales in Brazil contracted 0.4 percent in August, the biggest drop since March 2010, as consumers cut spending amid rising inflation and economic turmoil in Europe and the U.S. Consumer prices rose 7.31 percent in the year through September, exceeding the 6.5 percent upper limit of the central bank’s target range for a sixth straight month.
“The Brazilian retail market isn’t so optimistic for Christmas,” said Narcizo. “The crisis will affect Brazil, we’re not isolated.”
Nokia’s sales in Latin America declined 6.8 percent to 531 million euros in the third quarter, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said in a statement on its website on Oct. 20. Sales in Europe fell 39 percent to 1.39 billion euros in the period.
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