Walmart gears up for online battle

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Walmart is all about online, anticipating digital sales next year will rise about 40 percent and that it will add 1,000 U.S. online grocery locations.

The retail behemoth is predicting net sales growth at or above 3 percent, driven by online sales and growth from existing stores.

Walmart kicks off its annual investor meeting Tuesday in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Walmart is armoring up online to take on Amazon.com and more traditional rivals, like Target. The company paid more than $3 billion for the online retailer Jet last year to speed its evolution. It's also been acquiring smaller players like ModCloth, Moosejaw and Bonobos.

The emphasis seemed to recede for brick-and-mortar stores, with Walmart expecting to open less than 15 SuperCenters in the U.S. next year.

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