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Wal-Mart to Offer Customers Discount Gas as Prices Rise

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, will offer holders of its proprietary credit and debit cards discounted gasoline to attract budget-conscious consumers seeking relief from rising fuel prices.

Holders of Wal-Mart credit cards and its MoneyCard prepaid debit cards will get a 15-cent-per-gallon discount at any of the 1,026 locations that sell gasoline in 20 states, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said today in a statement. Wal-Mart gift card holders will get a 10-cent discount per gallon. The program runs from Aug. 31 to Dec. 24.

Wal-Mart is seeking increased traffic to its stores after a similar program last year attracted shoppers, Chief Merchandising Officer Duncan Mac Naughton said on a conference call. The average U.S. price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has risen 16 percent this year to $3.80 yesterday, according to AAA.

“Our customers are under pressure from the economy,” Mac Naughton said. “They also talk about gas prices. We have always had aggressive prices on gas. This takes it to the next level.”

Wal-Mart rose 0.8 percent to $72.96 at 11:06 a.m. in New York. The shares gained 21 percent this year through yesterday.

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