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Business

Wal-Mart to shutter hundreds of stores

Wal-Mart has said it's closing hundreds of its store in the US and Latin America, affecting thousands of employees. The word's largest retail chain is facing increasing competition from smaller rivals.

US retail giant Wal-Mart said Friday it was closing 269 stores, more than half of them at home and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.

The announcement came three months after CEO Doug McMillon told investors the worlds largest retailer would review its store fleet amid increasing competition from all fronts,

including online rival Amazon.com

and brick-and-mortar dollar store chains.

Analysts said the planned closures would be moderate, pointing out that they'd account for only a fraction of the company's 11,000 stores worldwide, taking away just 1 percent of its global revenue.

Change of tactics

Management said the streamlining measure would affect 16,000 employees, 10,000 of them in the United States. Currently, Wal-Mart has a workforce of 2.2 million globally.

In a recent shift, the retailer has been focusing on higher-income shoppers where it sees better growth opportunities.

The Arkansas-based company announced last fall that annual profit may drop as much as 12 percent for its fiscal year 2017 as heavy investments in its online operations were expected to whittle down net earnings.

hg/jd (AP, Reuters)

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