BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc. laid off 100 employees at its headquarters and eliminated 300 positions that have gone unfilled.

The world's largest retailer, which employs 11,000 at its Bentonville headquarters and 1.2 million in the United States and abroad, hasn't had any layoffs at its home office since 1995.

Wal-Mart spokesman Tom Williams said the cuts came as part of a periodic review of how the company can trim expenses.

Workers were told Monday of the layoffs. Wal-Mart recruiters began conducting interviews Tuesday with those laid off to see if they could be placed elsewhere in the company. Williams said Tuesday he did not know how many of the workers would be rehired.

Williams said the slowdown in the economy played a role in the cuts.

``We always pay attention to the business,'' Williams said. ``Now, we're really paying attention.''

In June, Wal-Mart reported a 6.9 percent gain in sales at stores open at least a year, known as same-store sales, outpacing many retailers. Same-store sales are the best indicator of a retailer's health.

However, the discounter's profit margins have been under pressure due in large part to consumers' shift in spending habits.

``Consumers are gravitating toward commodity merchandise like health and beauty products and food, which have lower profit margins. They are also buying merchandise at opening prices,'' said Bill Dreher, a senior analyst at Robertson Stephens.

Shares of Wal-Mart were up 88 cents, or 2 percent, to $53.98 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.