Wal-Mart stops selling Amazon Kindles

Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:40pm EDT
 
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By Jessica Wohl

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc will no longer sell Amazon.com Inc's Kindle eReaders and tablets, severing its relationship with a major competitor and placing a bet that consumers are more interested in Apple's iPad and other gadgets.

The world's largest retailer, which has been trying to catch up to Amazon in online sales, said the decision was consistent with its overall merchandising strategy.

Owners of Kindle tablets such as the new Kindle Fire HD can shop on the devices for millions of items beyond digital books. This allows Amazon to compete with stores on more lines of merchandise. This spring, Target Corp stopped selling the products.

Amazon has already tested physical stores for other goods. Now, with two large chains no longer selling Kindle, speculation has grown that the dominant online retailer could open its stores where shoppers could try out and buy Kindles.

Amazon "is a little bit of a Trojan horse" when the Kindle is sold in other stores, said Sucharita Mulpuru, retail analyst at Forrester Research. "They should have made this decision to not carry the Kindle a long time ago."

The timing of the decision to pull the plug on Kindles, which was reported first by Reuters, means that Wal-Mart will miss out on holiday season sales of the newest Kindle tablets, which range in price from $159 to $599.

"We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments," Wal-Mart said in a memo sent to store managers on Wednesday. "This includes all Amazon Kindle models current and recently announced."

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed the decision and said the company would keep selling "a broad assortment" of other tablets, eReaders and accessories. Amazon declined to comment.   Continued...

 
A Walmart store, that was destroyed by a tornado and later rebuilt, is seen in Joplin, Missouri May 17, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer