Wal-Mart to reduce hours at four Acadiana 24/7 stores

By the end of August, the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 1629 E. Creswell Lane will drop six hours from its 24/7 operating schedule. So will two stores in Lafayette, at least one in Monroe and one each in New Iberia and Baton Rouge.

Officials at the company’s Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters confirmed the change Thursday. Although Wal-Mart did not issue a companywide announcement, signs at the stores began to inform customers this week that the store will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight starting later this month.

In Lafayette, Wal-Mart Supercenters at 3142 Ambassador Caffery Parkway and 3142 NE Evangeline Thruway will reduce their hours.

The change will follow this week’s statewide sales tax holiday, when many people buy back-to-school uniforms, supplies and dormitory room items.

The reduced hours are not specific to Louisiana. About 200 of the chain’s 4,500 stores in the United States also will open for fewer hours each day, said company spokesman Brian Nick.

“We analyzed shopping patterns and made the decision to reduce hours at some locations to get our stores in good shape for customers the following day,” he said Thursday.

Construction continues on a smaller Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, including a gas station, at La. 182 and Heather Drive just south of Opelousas. That strikes St. Landry Parish economic development director Bill Rodier as a positive sign.

“Wal-Mart does see potential in this market or it would not be making that kind of investment,” Rodier said Thursday.

Neither he nor staffers at the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce had heard from the company about the change.

In Opelousas, Wal-Mart is one of the few business that remains open 24 hours a day. It includes a grocery store, hardware, tire and engine lube center, garden supplies, optical and pharmacy departments and general merchandise. Not every department is open at all hours.

One of the Monroe locations on the company’s list is a Neighborhood Market that apparently is not open 24 hours a day. The New Iberia supercenter at 1205 E. Admiral Doyle Dr. which stays open all the time now, also will reduce its hours.

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer. It operates more than 11,000 locations under dozens of names including Sam’s Club in 28 countries, and employs 1.3 million people in the United States.

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