Wal-Mart is to close its Sam's Club stores in the Canadian province of Ontario.

The move comes as the world's largest retailer looks to focus on expanding its supercentre and discount businesses in Canada.

The company plans to open 26 Wal-Mart supercentres in Canada this year, which will take the US retail giant's store network to some 316 outlets in the country.

"Today's announcement will allow us to focus our resources on growing this popular one-stop format at a time when Canadians are relying on Wal-Mart more than ever to help them save money during challenging economic times," Said Wal-Mart Canada president and CEO David Cheesewright.

Some 1,200 Wal-Mart employees in Canada could be affected by the closure of the Sam' Club outlets. However, the retailer said it was in talks to sell five of the stores to a US retailer.

Cheesewright said: "Despite our best efforts and the commendable work of our Sam's Club associates, our six Clubs have not met our expectations."

Wal-Mart said the opening of the extra supercentre outlets in Canada would create around 5,000 jobs.