Wal-Mart Closes 72 Stores as Rita Nears

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) closed 72 stores in the path of Hurricane Rita (search) as of Friday morning, the company said on its Web site.

The world's biggest retailer had closed 64 stores and distribution centers by Thursday evening, and said more than 100 facilities were within a 120-mile radius of where the storm is expected to make landfall overnight on Friday.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer, which has more than 3,500 U.S. stores, had closed 126 locations when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast (search). Nine of its stores were severely damaged in that storm.