updated 12/27/2004 9:26:39 AM ET 2004-12-27T14:26:39

Discount retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Monday pegged its December same-store sales growth at the midpoint of current estimates and said sales on the Sunday after Christmas exceeded expectations.

Major Market Indices

In its weekly sales summary, Wal-Mart said it saw improved sales of food and general merchandise, and added that demand for gifts cards was up "significantly" over the year-ago period.

Total same-store sales growth was driven by higher customer traffic, Wal-Mart said. Geographically, sales were strongest in the West region.

For the five weeks ending Dec. 31, Wal-Mart now projects sales at stores open at least a year will grow near the middle of a 1 percent to 3 percent range. That compares with same-store sales growth of 0.7 percent in November, and 3.9 percent in the year-earlier period.

Wal-Mart shares ended last week at $52.55, near the bottom of their 52-week range of $51.08 to $61.31.

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