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• The Wall Street Journal reports that “Wal-Mart Stores, accounting for more than one-fourth of U.S. toy sales, has sent a clear message that it doesn't plan to be undersold when it announced 10 well-known toys, including some Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels car sets, for $10.” The cuts reportedly put the toys on Walmart’s list “25 percent to 40 percent below the prices of Toys ‘R’ Us and, Target began matching prices on three of the four toys it shares with Wal-Mart's $10 list.”

The goal is to get a head start in the upcoming holiday sales race, during which “cash-strapped consumers may favor no-frills basics over flashier merchandise,” the WSJ writes.

• In New Zealand, the Herald reports that Walmart “is making an aggressive push into China's smaller markets as economic growth spreads to the hinterlands. Only three of the 30 outlets Wal-Mart Stores opened in China last year were in what it calls major cities: Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen. The rest were in provincial capitals or other smaller cities.

“The expansion is a key part of Wal-Mart's attempt to gain a bigger foothold in what could become the world's largest retail market. Faced with saturated markets at home, Wal-Mart and other Western retailers are increasingly looking to emerging economies such as China to drive sales growth.”

An example of China’s potential and importance to Walmart’s bottom line: the retailer recently reported that its Q2 China sales were up 32.2 percent, compared to the 16.9 percent increase reported for its overall international stores.

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