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weekly sales rose in line with the company's expectations of a 4% to 6% gain, according to a recorded message to investors.

The world's biggest retailer said sales at stores open at least a year were on plan at both Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. Same-store sales for the next monthly sales period ending Sept. 29 also were on plan, though they'll likely fall toward the bottom of the range due to a calendar quirk, the weekly recording said.

Last week, Wal-Mart said comparable-store sales rose 5.7% for all of August, among the best of the discount retailers. (


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reported a 2.5% sales gain and warned about third-quarter earnings, while



saw sales rise 2.8% for the month.)

Still, Wal-Mart's August gain was less than the 8.7% rise reported in the same month last year, demonstrating how hard it is to maintain strong sales growth in the face of more sluggish consumer spending. (


explored this issue in a previous story.) Women's apparel has been a particularly tough business, and Wal-Mart's weekly message notably did not mention that segment as a pocket of strength at its main Wal-Mart stores. (It did cite men's apparel as well as stationery and books.)

Wal-Mart shares rose $1.19 to $49.94.