Wal-Mart drops Amazon Kindle products

September 20, 2012

Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will stop carrying Amazon Kindle products in its stores after inventory is depleted and pending orders are filled.

The decision, reported earlier by Reuters, follows a similar move from retailer Target, which announced in May that it would no longer sell Kindle devices.

“Recently, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made a business decision to not carry current Amazon products beyond our purchase commitments and existing inventory,” the company said in a statement to The Washington Post. “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, eReaders and accessories at a variety of great price points. This decision is consistent with our overall merchandising strategy.”

A search for “Amazon Kindle” and “Kindle” on Wal-Mart’s Web site Thursday delivered results for Kindle cases, accessories and competing devices, such as the Barnes & Noble Nook, but did not return any results featuring Amazon’s tablet computer or e-readers.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, competes fiercely with Amazon, which is ambitiously expanding the number of goods and services that it delivers straight to its customers — often through devices such as the Kindle e-reader and the Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon could not be immediately reached for comment on Wal-Mart’s decision.

Retailers have been particularly critical of the online marketplace and its contribution to the trend of “showrooming.” They complain that customers often come into their brick-and-mortar stores to see or try out products that they’re interested in buying, only to leave and purchase the goods online, where customers often don’t have to pay sales taxes.

That practice gives online retailers an unfair advantage, David French, senior vice president of government relations at the National Retail Federation, told The Washington Post in July. “You’ve been doing all of the work, and then the online competitor steals the sale,” French said.

Amazon is supporting federal legislation that aims to create a national standard for Internet sales taxes, allowing states to simplify their tax codes and to choose whether to enforce sales tax collection on e-sales.

Wal-Mart, Target, Barnes & Noble and other major retailers are also supporting the bill.

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Wal-Mart plans to open six stores in the District

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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