In an effort to focus on investment returns, Wal-Mart is turning away from its supercenter concept in favor of smaller, urban stores and preparing to aggressively slash prices in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The moves come as the retailer struggles with tepid sales amid expectations of a difficult holiday season. Still, Wal-Mart executives have vowed to be the "price leader" for the holidays, which they said will ultimately help it lower costs. The new, smaller supercenters also will cost less to build and operate, executives said.

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