business news in context, analysis with attitude

Walmart said yesterday that it will no longer sell the Amazon Kindle, or any other Amazon-branded products, once it is sold out of existing inventory.

Target made a similar decision several months ago.

Here's Walmart's statement about the decision:

"Recently, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. made a business decision to not carry current Amazon products beyond our purchase commitments and existing inventory.

"Our customers trust us to provide a broad assortment of products at everyday low prices, and we approach each 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."

Walmart says it will continue selling Apple's iPad, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and other e-readers. But not the market-leader Kindle.
KC's View:
It is amusing to see how Walmart sort of implies that the Amazon products are not a good value, and never says that it doesn't want to carry Amazon products because Amazon is probably the single biggest threat to its retail dominance in the US.

Which is the real truth.

Now, I don't blame Walmart. Retailing is hardball, and it does not make sense to sell products that only make your competitor stronger and more profitable.

The new Kindles are not just e-readers. They are sophisticated tablet computers that Amazon can use to try to sell users other stuff. Lots of other stuff. Stuff that you might otherwise buy at Walmart.

Remember - it wasn't that many years ago that Borders outsourced its online book business to Amazon, and realized too late that it had handed Amazon the club with which the retailing pioneer would then beat it into submission, irrelevance and, finally, oblivion.

I suspect the folks at Amazon are chuckling about this. They've probably wondered how long it would take Walmart to come to this decision, and factored it into their sales projections.

This just confirms, in my mind, what we've been saying around here for a long time - that the clash of the titans is Amazon vs. Walmart, and everybody else needs to figure out strategies and tactics that will make them relevant and vital in an environment where there could be a lot of collateral damage. was just a week or so ago that Toys R Us announced it was unveiling its own tablet computer designed especially for kids. I wonder if Walmart is considering offering its own tablet computer or e-reader, as a way of creating for itself a differential advantage.