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Wal-Mart Gears Up Online as Customers Defect to Amazon

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s customers were latecomers to online shopping. Now increasingly they’re trolling for deals at Amazon.com Inc., putting pressure on Wal-Mart to fix its lagging e-commerce operation.

Five years ago, the world’s largest retail chain didn’t have to worry much about the world’s largest online mall. After all, only about a quarter of Wal-Mart customers shopped at Amazon, according to data from the research firm Kantar Retail. Now half say they do.