Wal-Mart will close eight Louisiana stores by Jan. 28 as part of an effort by the world’s largest retailer to manage its portfolio and invest in larger Supercenters. The stores targeted are in Clinton, Independence, Kentwood, Colfax, Mamou, Lake Arthur, Iowa and Zwolle. All of the stores opened in 2015 as part of a push by the company to build smaller stores. About 240 employees at the Louisiana stores will be affected by the layoffs.

Wal-Mart said it will close 269 stores in the U.S. and globally, including more than a 100 of its smallest-format stores. “Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “It’s important to remember that we’ll open well more than 300 stores around the world next year.” In Louisiana, Wal-Mart plans to open nine more stores in the upcoming year, a move that will create nearly 1,045 jobs, said Anne Hatfield, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. This week, new stores opened in Gretna and Ruston. An Express store proposed on Old Hammond Highway won’t be built, but another Neighborhood Market is planned for the city. Wal-Mart has more than 130 stores in Louisiana. FULL REPORT