Wal-Mart (WMT) - Get Report is discontinuing gun sales at almost one-quarter of its U.S. stores, citing insufficient demand.

In a statement posted on its Web site Friday, the world's largest retailer said, "In order for each of our stores to be a 'store of the community' and offer merchandise that is relevant to that specific community and customer base, we recently made a business decision no longer to offer firearms in approximately 1,000 of our locations."

Including its Sam's Club warehouse outlets, Wal-Mart has 3,864 U.S. stores.

The world's largest retailer said it had started phasing out firearms sales at the affected stores earlier this year. In stores where there is sufficient demand for guns, Wal-Mart says it will continue to sell them.

Wal-Mart shares ended Thursday at $45.77. U.S. markets were closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.