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Walmart’s same-store sales were down 1.4% during its most recent quarter. So what does that mean about the state of the overall economy? There are two theories. Some make the argument that the economy is improving, and consumers are now “trading up.” Stronger sales at Target and other chains are used as evidence of this uptick. Others say, though, that Walmart is a bellwether for the overall economy, and its low sales are evidence of a still-struggling consumer in the face of a unemployment rate that isn’t making a whole lot of improvement. For their part, Walmart executives say customers can’t afford to get to their stores because of high gas prices. What is your take? Is a struggling Walmart the result of a still-struggling, or improving, economy?

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