US retail titan Wal-Mart has reported record sales and earnings for the first quarter but said its results were lower than expected due to higher petrol prices and bad weather.

Net income for the quarter ended 30 April 2005 was $2.5bn, an increase of 13.6% from $2.2bn in the first quarter of the previous year. Earnings per share were $0.58, compared with $0.50 for the prior year first quarter. Net sales for the first quarter were $70.9bn, an increase of 9.5% over the first quarter of fiscal 2005.

"We achieved record results in the quarter. Yet with higher gasoline prices and a cooler and wetter spring than normal, we missed our plan. We are making the necessary adjustments and I anticipate better results in the second half of the year," said Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's president and CEO.

Total US comparable sales for the quarter increased 2.9%, including a 2.8% comparable increase for Wal-Mart Stores and a 3.5% increase for Sam's Club.

The company's international segment had operating income of $667m for the most recent quarter, an increase of 18.5% compared with $563m in the first quarter of fiscal 2005.