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Is Wal-Mart in an oligopoly or is it a monopoly?

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anniesautos | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted April 30, 2012 at 4:14 PM via web

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Is Wal-Mart in an oligopoly or is it a monopoly?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 30, 2012 at 4:24 PM (Answer #1)

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Of these choices, it is more correct to say that Wal-Mart is in an oligopoly.  

The clearest reason to say this has to do with the definition of a monopoly.  In a monopoly, there is only one seller for an entire market.  This is not true of Wal-Mart's market.  Wal-Mart must compete with other similar stores such as K-Mart and Target and ShopKo.  It must also compete with other stores that carry particular items that Wal-Mart carries.  For example, Wal-Mart must compete with stores like Best Buy and Staples in selling electronics.  It must compete with internet retailers like Amazon in a number of areas.  Because there is so much competition, Wal-Mart cannot be considered a monopoly.  

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