BlackBerry sales dwindle to nil in "meaningful number" of US stores

BlackBerry sales in the US have ditched and some stores have failed to sell a single handset from RIM's range in the past month, according to analyst checks, painting a dreary picture of the Canadian company's future. "We believe that current run rates are roughly one-fifth of those we saw in the US just eight months ago," Pacific Crest's James Faucette told AllThingsD, adding ominously that "we found a meaningful number of carrier retail locations which had not sold a single BlackBerry in over a month."

Sales of BlackBerry devices in stores were apparently unchanged, comparing August to July, but Pacific Crest found evidence that retailers were simply not restocking with new devices. "We detected meaningfully lower inventory levels versus a month ago" Faucette pointed out.

That's a real problem for RIM, as the company needs to tide its finances over through Q4 2012 and into early 2013, something it has been relying on existing BlackBerry 7 handsets to deliver. Next year, BlackBerry 10 will debut – delayed and much criticized – with RIM fighting to reclaim shelf space and market mindshare from iOS, Android and, to a lesser extent, Windows Phone.

"Even assuming that BlackBerry 10 devices roll out on time starting in 2013," Faucette concludes, "we believe the clear evidence of shelf-space pressure our checks have detected does not bode well for the company in the longer term."

RIM said in a statement on the analyst comments that it was "focused on the successful launch" of its new platform, reiterating that the rewritten OS was expected sometime in Q1 2013.