Wal-Mart drops gun sales in about third of U.S. stores - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Wal-Mart drops gun sales in about third of U.S. stores

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has decided to stop selling guns in about a third of its U.S. stores in what it calls a marketing decision based on lack of demand in some places, a company spokeswoman said Friday.

The world's largest retailer decided last month to remove firearms from about 1,000 stores in favor of stocking other sporting goods, in line with a ``Store of the Community'' strategy for boosting sales by paying closer attention to local differences in demand.

``This decision is based on diminished customer relevancy and demand in these markets,'' said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jolanda Stewart.

Stewart declined to specify what stores were affected.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Ark., has about 1,200 discount stores and 1,900 Supercenters, which include a full grocery section, in all 50 states. Wal-Mart says it sells rifles and shotguns. In Alaska, it also sells handguns.

``As with all merchandise decisions that we make, our decision to remove guns from Wal-Mart locations is simply based on the lack of customer purchase history of firearms in a given community,'' Stewart said.

Wal-Mart's experimental new Supercenter for more upscale shoppers, which opened last month in the affluent Dallas suburb of Plano, does not carry guns.

As Wal-Mart seeks growth by moving from rural America into cities and suburbs, it finds it needs to retune its inventory to appeal to more urban consumers.

The Plano store is a testing ground for ideas, from trendier products to more subdued interiors, that are part of a broad effort at Wal-Mart to rekindle sluggish growth by luring more affluent shoppers away from faster-growing rivals such as Target Corp.

Chief Executive Lee Scott has said that in communities like Plano, Wal-Mart's sports department should shift from a traditional emphasis on hunting and fishing to more home fitness and exercise products.
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