Walmart to Stop Selling Kindle Products — Reuters (WMT, AMZN, TGT, AAPL, BKS)

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In a move no doubt designed to stop supporting one of its main online rivals, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) will no longer sell the Kindle family of e-readers and tablets from Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) announced in May that it would stop selling Kindle products.

In an exclusive report, Reuters cites an internal Walmart memo dated yesterday:

We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments. This includes all Amazon Kindle models current and recently announced.

Walmart will continue to sell “a broad assortment” of tablets, e-readers, and accessories from makers such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS).

A Walmart spokesperson told Reuters that the decision to stop selling Kindle products was consistent with the company’s “overall merchandising strategy.” And Walmart’s strategy certainly does not include playing second fiddle to Amazon in online retailing.

According the latest numbers from comScore, Amazon attracted about 104 million unique visits to its various sites in August, compared with about 43 million unique visitors to Walmart’s site. Walmart has apparently decided that the loss of Kindle sales is less of a threat to the company’s online retailing efforts than continuing to sell the Amazon product. That would also indicate that sales were not exactly robust.

Walmart shares are up about 0.3% in the early afternoon today, at $74.63 in a 52-week range of $49.94 to $75.24.

Amazon’s shares are off about 1% at $259.15 in a 52-week range of $166.97 to $264.11.

Paul Ausick

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