Wal-Mart profits rise despite weak US sales

Wal-Mart sign Shoppers in the US continue to tighten their belts but overseas customers have boosted Wal-Mart profits

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The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, has reported a 9% rise in profits thanks to strong sales overseas.

Profit in the third quarter rose to $3.44bn (£2.15bn) compared with $3.15bn for the same period last year.

Sales in the US fell for the sixth month in a row as American shoppers continued to feel under pressure.

However, Wal-Mart International continues to enjoy strong growth. Its UK business, Asda, said that it would be creating 7,500 new jobs next year,

"Our international business continues to deliver impressive results with sales up more than 9%" said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart president and chief executive.

Wal-Mart has added almost 10 million square feet of retail space in the last three years, and 37% of this came from developments abroad.

Sales at Wal-Mart's US discount stores have suffered because of high levels of unemployment which have seen customers cutting back on some essential items.

However, countries like Japan and Brazil have helped offset this drop off in sales.

UK boost

Earlier on Tuesday, Wal-Mart's UK operation, Asda, said it would create 7,500 new jobs in the UK next year, half of them at new stores.

The company said it would hire 3,500 at new stores, 2,400 for its home shopping service and 100 in new pharmacies.

Asda store facia Asda has announced the creation of 7,500 new jobs

Asda will also recruit 1,500 staff at Netto stores, doubling its headcount at the Danish discount retail chain it bought in May.

The company said that it already had 3,000 unfilled job vacancies available.

"I'm proud to say that next year we will once again create thousands of new jobs at every level of our growing business," said Andy Clarke, Asda's chief executive.

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