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Sept 17 – Sept 23, 2012 Edition WAL-MART BANISHES AMAZON KINDLE FROM STORES Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the world’s largest store chain said September 20 that it will stop selling Amazon Kindle tablets and electronic readers, in what analysts see as a growing competitive strain between the two retail titans.
Wal-Mart’s move to stop carrying the Kindle, follows a rift between Amazon and retailers last holiday season, when Amazon unveiled a smartphone app called Price Check that allowed users to compare Amazon’s prices to those at physical stores by scanning bar codes. A few months earlier, Target Corp. also banned the Kindle devices for the same reason. But Best Buy, Stamples an RadioShack continue to carry Kindles.
Retailers say they plan to fight back against such examples of “showrooming,” the term given for when shoppers check out products in stores, only to buy them more cheaply from online retailers such as Amazon, which don’t collect sales taxes in many states.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart denied that competition from Amazon was behind its decision to stop stocking Kindle products. “Our customers trust us to provide a broad assortment of products at everyday low prices, and we approach every merchandising decision through this lens,” the Bentonville, Ark., based retailer said in a statement.
Wal-Mart will continue to stock rival products including Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet and Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook e-reader. A person familiar with the matter said Wal-Mart wanted to sell only electronic readers and tablets that allowed customers access to an array of content providers.
The Journal reported that the Bentonville, Ark., chain also was unhappy with Amazon’s decision to offer a cheaperKindle Fire product that contained advertising without disclosing that consumers could remove the ads after paying a $15 fee, the person said.
Some retail experts were skeptical of that rationale.
“Wal-Mart and other retailers don’t want to facilitate Amazon in any way,” said Forrester Research analyst Brian Walker. “Wal-Mart probably doesn’t sell many Kindle units, but they don’t want to become a showroom for Amazon, who they are fighting tooth and nail with on almost all their other products.”