Target to stop selling Amazon's Kindle devices

Target Corporation shareholders leave the annual shareholders meeting. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson
By Alistair Barr and Jessica Wohl
Target Corp said on Wednesday it will stop selling Amazon.com Inc's Kindle devices, the latest in a series of brawls between the companies fueled by Amazon's increasing competition with brick and mortar retailers.

"Target is phasing out Amazon- and Kindle-branded products in the spring of 2012," Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder wrote in an email to Reuters. "We will continue to offer our guests a full assortment of e-readers and supporting accessories."

The decision includes Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet, its range of Kindle e-readers and all accessories for the devices, including covers and chargers. Target will still sell other e-readers and tablets, including the Nook from Barnes & Noble, Snyder added.

"This is evidence that Target is getting more serious about Amazon as an enemy rather than a partner," said Matt Nemer, an analyst at Wells Fargo.

Amazon ran Target's website for several years, but that relationship ended last year amid a legal battle.

"That's probably something Target now regrets," Nemer said. "It put them behind in the world of multi-channel retail and let a serious competitor learn a lot about their business."

Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, will keep selling Kindles, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday. An Amazon spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

Target's move comes as the retailer outfits some of its stores with special displays of Apple Inc products, including the iPad, which competes with Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet.

Amazon's Kindle Fire is tightly integrated with the company's huge online retail store, which competes with Target's physical big-box outlets and its website.
Target's Snyder said the company "continually evaluates its product assortment to deliver the best quality and prices for our guests."

She declined to comment on whether closer merchandising ties with Apple or broader competition with Amazon were behind the move to stop selling Kindles.

Tech blog The Verge reported Target's decision to stop selling Kindles earlier on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Alistair Barr; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Maureen Bavdek and Phil Berlowitz)
This article was first seen on Reuters
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