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INFOGRAPHIC: Wal-Mart Vs. Amazon


Two aggressive retailers, one goal: to own the ever-expanding global consumer market.

Are Wal-Mart (WMT) and Amazon (AMZN) two retail giants in competition with each other, or do they exist in parallel worlds?

In recent weeks, Amazon has aggressively pushed into the digital retail market, adding Cloud-based streaming movies and music to a growing list of digital products. Sales at the Kindle store are already booming, though the latest, highly-ranked Nook from Barnes & Noble (BKS) is threatening the Kindle's supremacy. Now Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is dropping hints about a tablet computer in the works, one that would compete with Apple's (AAPL) iPad. Yet another new Amazon business will focus on pets, according to reports.

Wal-Mart, meanwhile, continues to break new ground in a literal sense, last week opening Wal-Mart Express, a chain of boutique outlets to compete with convenience and dollar stores. The first location opened in Gentry, Arkansas, and hundreds more are due to roll out across the country. Each will be roughly 15,000-square-feet in size -- "small" only in comparison to typical Wal-Mart supercenters, which average 185,000 square feet.

This morning the company announced that it had completed a deal to acquire 51% of South Africa's Massmart retail chain. That gives Wal-Mart immediate access to not only the South African consumer market, but also to the developing markets of Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda and a handful of other nations where Massmart was already operating.

More good news for Wal-Mart and its shareholders arrived later in the day, when the U.S. Supreme Court announced that a job discrimination class-action lawsuit against the firm was simply too large to proceed.

And yet Amazon and Wal-Mart remain rivals on the long-term horizon. Already the largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart has made clear its intention to become the number-one online retailer despite Amazon's category-killer status. (Currently Wal-Mart is ramping up its use of social media to boost internet sales, for example.) For its part, Amazon continues to add new products to its already vast selection of online offerings, both via acquisitions and through its Marketplace platforms, even while battling state tax woes over its Amazon Associates program.

Both companies have begun experimenting with fresh grocery delivery, Wal-Mart in California and Amazon in Seattle, where it has been fine-tuning its grocery business since 2007.

So how do the two business models and future prospects line up, and which is more likely to dominate retail sales in 50 or 100 years? Online MBA has created this infographic, a side-by-side comparison for ringside spectators.

Walmart Vs. Amazon
Source: Online MBA
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