Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, said Tuesday that international sales drove profit higher to $3.4 billion in the first quarter, offsetting weakness in its home market in the United States.
The profit for the January-April period represented an increase of 3.0 percent from $3.3 billion during the same quarter a year earlier.
"International remains the key growth driver for our company, and the segment is seeing continued growth through a combination of comp (comparable) sales and new stores," Wal-Mart chief executive Mike Duke said in a statement.
"Mexico, China and Chile had the highest percentage sales increases for the first quarter compared to last year."
Revenues rose 4.4 percent from the year-ago period to $104.19 billion, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based discount titan said.
Net sales also grew by 4.4 percent, to $103.4 billion, led by international sales which soared 11.5 percent from a year earlier to $27.9 billion.
Overseas sales included a $1.3 billion currency exchange rate benefit and a $51 million charge for losses in Japan due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Wal-Mart's US division managed a 0.6 percent rise in sales to $62.67 billion as American consumers grappled with soaring food and energy costs.
Duke acknowledged "we still have work to do" and said growth in comp sales -- sales in stores open at least a year -- remained his greatest priority.
Sam's Club, a members-only discount chain, posted a 9.4 percent rise in sales to $12.84 billion.
First-quarter earnings per share excluding exceptional items were 97 cents, above the average analyst forecast of 95 cents.
Wal-Mart said the second quarter was expected to deliver improved results both in the US and internationally, assuming that currency exchange rates remain at current levels.
The company forecast earnings per share between $1.05 and $1.10, in line with the $1.08 expected by most analysts.