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Oct 26, 2011 2:07 PM by AP

Wal-Mart closes Manhattan clothing office

NEW YORK (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, is shuttering its clothing office in Manhattan to reflect its shift toward selling basics like socks and underwear, and away from trendier assortments.

The discounter said Wednesday that the closing, set for Feb. 1, will affect 275 people, but it's hoping to relocate as many employees as possible to its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The company, which employs 1.4 million people in the U.S., opened the clothing office in early 2009.

Wal-Mart is looking for ways to cut costs and reverse nine straight quarters of declines in revenue at stores opened at least a year. Clothing, which accounts for 7 percent of the company's total sales of nearly $419 billion, has been one of the most challenging areas for Wal-Mart.

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