Wal-Mart, the largest US retailer, on Friday said it would phase out the sales of HD DVD offerings and exclusively offer high-definition Blu-ray hardware and DVDs by the middle of this year.

The decision was based on US customers' preference for Blu-ray movies and hardware in purchases, Wal-Mart said in a statement.

The retailer will phase out HD DVD offerings in Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs retail stores, as well as online offerings, by June, the company said.

Wal-Mart's rejection of HD DVD is a sign that Blu-ray is catching on with retailers. Best Buy earlier this week said it would recommend users to buy Blu-ray products, though it would continue offering HD DVD products. Movie rental chains Netflix and Blockbuster recently abandoned HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray DVD offerings.

Six of eight major movie studios publish Blu-ray DVDs, including Walt Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Sony and Warner Bros. Only two major movie studios, Paramount Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment, publish in the HD DVD format.

The Blu-ray format has also seen a spate of victories in the gaming and consumer electronics industries, with companies like Philips adopting the format over HD DVD.

Blu-ray supporters include Sony, Panasonic and Samsung, while Toshiba, Microsoft and Intel are among the companies supporting HD DVD.

UK retailer Woolworth announced its intention to abandon support for HD DVD earlier this year.