Wal-Mart today (4 January) revealed better-than-expected US December same-store sales, which were up 1.6%, beating forecasts of a 0-1% rise.

Internationally, the world's largest retailer posted a net sales increase of 30.5% for the period. This figure was boosted by the company's and the 30.6% increase for the 48-week period in International's net sales include sales from the consolidation of Seiyu and Wal-Mart Central America and the acquisition in Southern Brazil, which added 15.6% to the net increase.

Commenting on its performance in its home market, Wal-Mart reported strong sales in electronics, food and consumables. "We believe Wal-Mart is becoming more of a destination for electronics as consumers recognise that we have a leadership position on low prices," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive officer, Wal-Mart Stores Division, US.  "People entertain more during the holidays and they liked our food and seasonal entertaining offerings," Castro-Wright added.  "Sell-throughs of Christmas seasonal items were higher this year than last season, driven by strong sales in indoor décor, housewares and poinsettias."

As anticipated, US apparel and home sales were soft, but pricing action did lift the performance of Wal-Mart's clothing sales, the company said.

"We reiterate our previously stated earnings guidance from continuing operations of 0.88 to 0.92 per share for the fourth quarter 0.85 to 0.89 per share for the full fiscal year," Tom Schoewe, Wal-Mart Stores executive vice president and chief financial officer, said.