Video-game retailer GameStop ( GME) raised its guidance for its fourth quarter after brisk hardware sales led to a 23.9% increase in same-store sales during the holiday season.

The Grapevine, Texas-based company also reported Thursday that total sales for the nine-week holiday period ended Dec. 30 were $1.73 billion, a 29% increase.

Shares of GameStop were recently up 78 cents, or 1.4%, to $55.68.

GameStop boosted its fourth-quarter earnings per share guidance to $1.58 to $1.60, up from earlier guidance of $1.53 to $1.59.

Clearly, the high-profile launches of two big console systems, Sony's ( SNE) PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's ( NTDOY) Wii, played a big part in getting more consumers into stores.

"We have never had a holiday season with more hardware choices or more accessory options," said R. Richard Fontaine, chairman and chief executive officer of GameStop, in a statement. GameStop also sold a "record number" of gift cards with a higher average value per card that will help ensure that the company closes the fiscal year with "real momentum," said Fontaine.

Based primarily on what it called "exceptionally strong" hardware sales during the holiday season, GameStop increased its comparable-store sales guidance for the fourth quarter of 2006 to range from 22% to 23%, compared with guidance of 14% to 18% issued during the fiscal third-quarter results. Full-year comparable-store sales are now expected to range from 10% to 10.5%.

The top five new video games sold during the holiday period were Gears of War from Microsoft ( MSFT), Final Fantasy XII from Square Enix, Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess from Nintendo, Guitar Hero 2 from Activision ( ATVI) and WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 from THQ ( THQI), said GameStop.

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