What are some major factors affecting the degree of competitiveness within the retail industry of Walmart? I am researching Walmart and how it fits into the retail industry.  I am trying to determine major factors that affect Walmart and its level of competitiveness within the retail industry.

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The previous answer misunderstands the the concept of competitiveness.  Competitiveness is not about how much competition Walmart has.  Instead, it is about how well Walmart can compete with the competition it has.  So the question here is essentially "What factors affect how well Walmart can compete with other stores."

On the one hand, there are technical factors that affect Walmart's ability to compete.  There are things like the layout of its stores.  It has to figure out how to balance its reputation for low prices with the desire to provide a more pleasant shopping experience (with things like more open stores and less crowded shelving).  There are also things like the efficiency of its supply chain and its distribution networks.  The more efficient these things are, the more Walmart is able to compete with other firms.

On the other hand, there are what one might call philosophical issues.  These are issues of corporate culture.  Here, Walmart's competitiveness revolves around its ability to cope with change.  Walmart has to be able to adapt to new challenges quickly even though it is the biggest retail firm around and may have trouble being "nimble."  It has to figure out how to deal with public relations issues (labor practices involving unions, women, health care, and other such things, for example) in order to maintain its good image while still providing low costs.

These are all issues internal to Walmart that determine how well it will be able to compete in the retail industry.

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This is a great question. I would say that Walmart faces two great competitors. 

First, there are online stores, like Amazon.com that can match and sometimes beat Walmart prices. Stores like Amazon can do this, because they do have the overhead costs of having brick and mortar buildings. This saves a lot of money. Moreover, people like the ease of shopping online. It is quick and efficient. As this way of shopping increases, it will compete against stores like Walmart. 

Second, there are many other discount stores. Kmart, Target, Costco are a few of them. They are competitive in terms of price. With these stores popping up all over the place they will collectively give Walmart a run for its money. 

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