updated 6/29/2008 6:52:17 PM ET 2008-06-29T22:52:17

The familiar logo of the world's largest retailer is getting a makeover.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Sunday the company will begin replacing logos on the front of its U.S. stores with a new design beginning this fall. Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner said the change would reflect changes customers already have seen in some store signs and advertisements.

"This logo update is simply a reflection of the refreshed image of our stores and our renewed sense of purpose of helping people save money so they can live better," Gardner said in a written statement.

Gardner said he had no other information about the change. However, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that the new look would include eliminating the hyphen in the company's name, now shown as a star at its more than 3,600 U.S. stores. The new logo would show company's name in white letters on an orange background, followed by a small starburst, the Journal reported, based on an artist's rendering filed with planning officials in Memphis, Tenn.

Revamping the logo comes as the Bentonville, Ark.-based company continues to tweak its image after facing criticism from union-led groups and local communities across the nation opposed to big-box store developments. In the time since, Wal-Mart has launched a marketing campaign highlighting its environmentally focused practices and efforts to make health care more affordable for customers through a discounted prescription drug program.

Still, Wal-Mart's low-cost advantage remains what draws customers as questions persist about the strength of the U.S. economy.

Sam Walton started Bentonville-based Wal-Mart in 1962, opening a single story in nearby Rogers. The company's logo once included lasso-like script, still seen on older tractor-trailers and distributing centers throughout Arkansas and elsewhere.

The company said it last tweaked its logo in 1992. Customers remain most familiar with its current incarnation, a white block-type logo lit against a deep blue background, red lines above and below.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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