Asda growth in double digits
Wal-Mart unveiled record sales and earnings in its first quarter. Sales soared 8.3 per cent to US$85.39 billion (£43.09 billion) for the three months to April 30.

The world's biggest retailer said income from continuing operations rose 6.2 per cent to US$2.83 billion (£1.42 billion), compared with US$2.66 billion (£1.34 billion) in 2006. International sales also rocketed 18.5 per cent to US$19.63 billion (£9.9 billion), compared with US$16.56 billion (£8.36 billion) the year before. Wal-Mart operates from more than 2,700 stores worldwide.

Wal-Mart president and CEO Lee Scott said: 'While these are record sales and earnings, we feel there was an opportunity to have done better. Delivering on our mission - saving people money so they can live better - is more important than ever.'

The estimate for comparable store sales in the US for the first quarter is 1 per cent to 2 per cent.

Wal-Mart's UK arm, Asda, revealed sales growth was in the low-double digits for the first quarter, with a mid-single digit growth in like-for-like sales. This is the fourth consecutive quarter that Asda's like-for-like sales have risen. The retailer said this was down to a significant rise in customers over the past two years.

The value supermarket has attracted about 1.5 million new customers, with half coming from existing stores and half from stores opened during the period.

Asda president and chief executive Andy Bond said: 'With interest rates on the rise again people are feeling the pinch, so lowering prices is as important now as it's ever been.'