The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, has reported a 23% rise in third-quarter profits.

The retail giant said its net income for the three months to the end of October was US$1.82bn.

Wal-Mart also forecast earnings at the lower end of expectations for the Christmas period and a continued sales growth of between 3% and 5%.

Without reporting specific sales and profit figures for its UK subsidiary Asda, Wal-Mart said the UK supermarket chain performed well. Like-for-like sales at Asda, including petrol, showed high single-digit percentage growth, above rivals Tesco and J Sainsbury. Like-for-like sales, excluding petrol, showed a low double-digit percentage growth.

The company said the increases came from a rise in customer numbers and higher average spending.

Wal-Mart’s international division, which includes Walmex in Mexico and operations in other countries such as Canada and Germany, reported increased sales up 14% to $9.9bn, and net income up 42% to $447m.

The company’s US operations reported like-for-like sales up 42% and operating profits up 15%, reported the Financial Times.