BENTONVILLE, Ark. --
Wal-Mart Stores here has launched a TV advertising campaign to encourage consumers to spend the gift cards they received for Christmas right away -- which would allow the retailer to realize the revenues from the cards in the current fiscal year, according to reports. Accounting rules prohibit retailers from recognizing gift-card sales until they are actually redeemed for merchandise. Wal-Mart, whose current fiscal year ends in January, has been running prime time spots showing a young child whipping out the plastic to pay for his purchases. Sears Holding Co., Hoffman Estates, Ill., is also said to be running ads encouraging consumers to redeem gift cards cards quickly.