BlackBerry Falls on Reports of Weaker Sales, Returns of Z10

BlackBerry (BBRY), the Canadian smartphone maker, fell the most in two months after analysts said sales of its new Z10 device are showing troubling signs. The company denied one of the reports.

BlackBerry slid 7.8 percent to $13.55 at the close in New York, the biggest decline since Feb. 13.

“The U.S. launch of the Z10 started poorly and weakened significantly as the days passed,” Joseph Fersedi, an analyst at ITG Investment Research, said today in a note, citing information from independent dealers. Some U.S. retailers are seeing a significant increase in customers returning their Z10s because they find the interface unintuitive, Detwiler Fenton & Co. said today.

“In several cases, returns are now exceeding sales, a phenomenon we have never seen before,” Detwiler Fenton said.

BlackBerry called Detwiler Fenton’s claim “absolutely false,” according to an e-mailed statement. “Our data shows that return rates for BlackBerry Z10 devices both in the U.S. and on a global basis are in line with or better than our expectations and are consistent with return rates for other premium smartphones in the market today,” it said.

The company is counting on the touch-screen Z10, its first smartphone to use the BlackBerry 10 platform, to revive growth after losing ground to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and devices that use Google Inc.’s Android software. Retailers in the U.K. and Canada are taking pre-orders for a second BlackBerry 10 phone, the Q10, which has a physical keyboard.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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