September 20, 2012, 3:21 PM

Wal-Mart gives Amazon the heave-ho

Wal-Mart has stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and tablets.

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will stop selling all Kindle products from Amazon.com Inc. Wal-Mart follows Target Corp., which made the decision to cease carrying the line of mega-popular e-readers and tablets earlier this year.

“Wal-Mart Stores made a business decision to not carry current Amazon products beyond our purchase commitments and existing inventory,” a spokeswoman tells Internet Retailer. “Our customers trust us to provide a broad assortment of products at everyday low prices, and we approach every merchandising decision through this lens. We will continue to offer our customers a broad assortment of tablets, e-readers and accessories at a variety of great price points. This decision is consistent with our overall merchandising strategy.”

The Kindle Fire and the newly released Kindle Fire HD are not just e-readers but full-fledged tablet computers. They come with the Amazon shopping app pre-installed and in a position of prominence. These devices facilitate sales of merchandise through Amazon.com’s mobile commerce channel—every Kindle Fire in the hands of a consumer gives Amazon an edge in online sales competition, says Nikki Baird, managing partner at Retail Systems Research LLC.

“The Kindle is absolutely a device designed to bind shoppers more closely to Amazon,” Baird says. “It doesn't surprise me at all to see traditional retailers catching on. We may see more such decisions about the Kindle during this holiday season—either in the run-up or immediately after. But I think one thing we won't see is a drastically negative impact on Kindle sales.”

Amazon.com, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Walmart.com is No. 4 in the Top 500.

A search for “Kindle” on Walmart.com today brought tablet computers from Amazon.com competitors such as Samsung and Asus.

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