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stuck to previous guidance for January sales, saying food receipts should offset the late arrival of the Super Bowl in 2005.

The nation's biggest retailer expects same-store sales to rise 2% to 4% from a year ago, helped by strong customer traffic in the East. The forecast reiterates guidance the company gave when it reported a 3% rise in December comps on Jan. 6.

"The Super Bowl is one week later this year and pre-Super Bowl sales fall out of the reporting period," Wal-Mart noted in a recorded call. This year's game happens on Feb. 6, five days later than in 2004.

Wal-Mart's shares closed Friday at $53.01. The 52-week range is $51.08 to $61.31.