International strength

Sales rose 12 per cent to $83.54bn, with international sales up nearly 34 per cent, helped by acquisitions.

At the company's US stores that have been open for at least a year, Wal-Mart revealed lacklustre sales growth, hurt by disruptions from store remodelling efforts and a poor reception for its trendier clothing.

Lee Scott, Wal-Mart chief executive, said: "Although sales in the US were softer than we hoped for in the third quarter, there are real opportunities in the fourth quarter to build on the momentum of the aggressive pricing strategy we have implemented in our stores for the holiday season."

The retailer forecast fourth-quarter earnings from continuing operations at 88 cents to 92 cents a share. Analysts on average expected 92 cents.