Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is cutting between 700 and 800 jobs at its Walmart US and Sam's Club operations - including an unspecified number of apparel positions - as it tries to weather the economic storm.

The jobs will go at the discount retailer's head offices in Bentonville, Arkansas and will include merchandising, real estate, marketing and support posts at Walmart, as well as merchandising positions at Sam's Club.

Walmart says it will also move apparel buyers from Bentonville to New York to increase its focus on fashion.

A memo sent by Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO Mike Duke, and seen by just-style, says the changes are part of moves to align the retailer's staffing and organisational structure to "increase operational efficiencies, support our strategic growth plans and help reduce our overall costs."

Duke adds: "We will continue to take appropriate steps to further align our support structure with our business plans.

"We must also challenge costs in every corner of the company in order to keep our business strong today and well into the future."

The latest round of restructuring at Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, comes a year after it unveiled plans to revamp its apparel unit to make styles more in tune with its shoppers and enhance speed to market.

The changes involved organising its apparel business around two 'hubs' focusing on brand merchandising and buying, with the merchandising operation moving to Wal-Mart's apparel unit in Manhattan, and the buying function staying in Bentonville.

It now seems this buying team is moving to New York too.

Wal-Mart has continued to ride out the downturn as customers flock to its stores in search of bargains.

January same-store sales exceeded expectations with a rise of 2.1%, although this was driven by demand for grocery and health products rather than apparel items.