Amazon’s $199 Kindle and low-price retailer Walmart would appear to be a match made in discount heaven, right? Then how do you explain today’s news that Walmart is kicking Amazon to the curb? In a statement, Walmart only says the decision is part of its “overall merchandising strategy.”
“Recently, Walmart Stores, Inc. made a business decision to not carry current Amazon products beyond our purchase commitments and existing inventory,” the Bentonville, Ark. firm told store managers Wednesday. In the memo reported by Reuters, Walmart officials said the stores will continue to offer “a broad assortment of tablets, eReaders and accessories at a variety of great price points.“
Walmart’s decision to dump the Kindle follows retail rival Target’s May announcement that it would discontinue selling the devices.
This shouldn’t be too surprising. Amazon views the Kindle and Kindle Fire HD as the home version of its vast online shopping service, offering up books, ebooks, digital music, videos — exactly the sort of items Walmart is also trying to push. With that sort of backdrop, Walmart selling Kindles makes about as much sense as the Apple Store suddenly hawking Samsung smartphones and HP tablets. Add the fact Walmart is pushing its own online sales website and today’s decision is actually a no-brainer.
Besides, buying products through the iPad or Kindle Fire is vastly easier and more comfortable than trudging to the local Super Store, dodging traffic and weaving your way through throngs of customers. Indeed, Walmart and other retailers should see the writing on the wall: consumers increasingly see brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom where they can touch, squeeze and compare the merchandise, then go home and place an online order for the item. Amazon likely won’t shed too many tears over this news.