Supermarket giant Wal-Mart revealed record first-quarter sales and earnings last week.
The store group, which owns Asda, unveiled net sales up 14.2 per cent to US$64.8 billion (£36.67 billion) for the quarter to April 30. Income from continuing operations was US$2.2 billion (£1.24 billion), up 18.4 per cent.
Wal-Mart chief executive officer Lee Scott said: 'I am encouraged by the strengthening economy and the improving apparel environment. Although I remain concerned about the (effect of) higher gasoline and petroleum prices, I am still optimistic about the balance of the year.'
In the US, like-for-like sales for the quarter were up 6.4 per cent.
Comparable sales were up 5.9 per cent at Wal-Mart stores and 8.8 per cent at Sam's Club. The international division's operating profit rose 46.6 per cent to US$563 million (£ 318.6 million).
Separately, Wal-Mart rival Target has revealed a 25 per cent increase in first-quarter earnings to US$483 million (£273.3 million).
- Feature: page16.