NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is cutting jobs in accounting and other back-office positions at about 500 locations in the Western region of the U.S.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg says the move will affect two or three people per store, totaling as many as 1,500 workers. But those employees are expected to be offered positions that will involve direct contact with shoppers, such as working in the online pickup department or as pharmacy technicians.

Lundberg says that the goal is to get workers out of the backrooms and onto the selling floor where they can interact more closely with customers.

It comes as Wal-Mart is trying to boost sales in light of increased competition from all fronts.

Wal-Mart has about 1.4 million workers at its namesake stores in the U.S.

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