Fitch Ratings, Chicago, said Wednesday it has affirmed its issuer default ratings on Wal-Mart Stores, with a stable outlook.

The agency rated the chain’s long-term IDR at AA and its short-term IDR at F1+.

Fitch said the ratings reflects Walmart’s dominant market position in North America, its strong position in the United Kingdom and long-term growth potential in other markets such as Central America, Chile and South Africa, as well as the company’s low cyclicality, consistently positive free-cash flow and steady financial leverage despite ongoing debt-financed share repurchases.

Balancing the positive factors, Fitch added, is a challenging economic environment that is pressuring the company’s core customers; growing competition from dollar stores and hard discounters; and weak results in China and Brazil.

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