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November 14, 2019, Sarah Halzack | Bloomberg

The uncertainties for Walmart Inc. were piling up in the third quarter, both external (tariff whiplash, recession fears) and internal (a management shuffle in the U.S.).

But judging by its Thursday earnings report, the big-box giant was unruffled by all the change.  Walmart boosted its full-year earnings outlook and reported that U.S. comparable sales in the latest quarter rose 3.2% from a year earlier, slightly ahead of analysts’ estimates.

Walmart’s growth has been so steady, in fact — and its components so consistent — that there is little doubt that the retailing giant can hold its own in its showdown with Amazon.com Inc.

The key to Walmart’s strategy and growth potential is its grocery department. Continued momentum in grocery is Walmart’s best way of playing offense against Amazon at a time when the e-commerce behemoth’s strategy for the category looks increasingly incoherent.

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