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Here's why Walmart boasts an 'unparalleled' edge against Amazon

If you ask Walmart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, it can go head-to-head with the e-commerce behemoth Amazon (AMZN) just by leveraging its biggest competitive strength.

Namely, Walmart’s massive brick-and-mortar presence that spans nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S. — a real estate footprint its CEO calls “unparalleled” in a Yahoo Finance interview.

As Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran puts it, “...we're not talking a small store here — we're talking large stores within 10 miles of 90% of the population.”

He spoke to Yahoo Finance ahead of Walmart’s Shareholders’ Meeting, an annual gathering that draws a crowd of nearly 14,000 investors and associates to the retailer’s home in northwest Arkansas.

In the last year, Walmart has shifted away from opening lots of new locations to prioritizing comp sales growth by improving its existing fleet of stores for the digital age.

The big box retailer’s footprint has been critical to the expansion of its growing online grocery pickup and delivery, and increasingly crucial for its web-based fulfillment of customer orders.

"We buy in truckloads. We move in truckloads. We put it on the shelf, in a cart. It's a pretty efficient model," Foran said, speaking to Yahoo from the floor of one if its massive stores.

"And within this very large store — which this one here that we're standing in is basically 200,000 square feet — there are over a 100,000 of the best selling items,” he added.

“The items that you must want in your life. And we've got them here probably cheaper than anyone else. So what's going to happen is that this store is not going to be just a store, it's going to be a fulfillment center,” Foran stated.

Some of the best-selling items on Walmart.com in 2018 included Instant Pots and Crayola Crayons.

In the latest earnings results, Walmart reported comparable sales growth of 3.4%, the best first quarter comp in 9 years and the fourth consecutive quarter above 3%.

Meanwhile, U.S. e-commerce sales grew 37% during the first quarter, driven by growth in online grocery and the home and fashion categories on Walmart.com. E-commerce grew 40% last year, nearly double the sales of the past two years.

A livestream of the event will be available on Yahoo Finance on June 7.

Watch the full interview below.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.