US retail giant Wal-Mart has posted better-then-expected profits for the fourth quarter to the end of January, helped by good sales performances at its operations in Canada, Mexico and the UK.

Wal-Mart’s net income for the quarter was US$2.53bn, a 15.5% increase year-on-year and slightly up on analysts’ forecasts, reports BBC Online.

Operating profit at the company’s overseas operations was up 37.6% to $757m for the quarter.

The company’s US operations, however, have not been faring so well, with same-store sales growth slowing to 2.3% for the quarter, compared to growth of 8.1% for the first quarter.

Operating profit at Wal-Mart’s US Sam’s Club warehouse stores slid 0.7% to $295m for the fourth quarter, hit by fierce competition.

For the 12 months to the end of January, Wal-Mart reported net profit of $8.04bn, and a 12.3% rise in annual sales to $244.5bn.