Lower profits from the Asda supermarket chain failed to drag down its US parent company Wal-Mart, which today reported better than expected third quarter income.

Wal-Mart, which operates 4,100 stores in the US and 3,000 internationally, said UK sales in the period grew in "single digits". The company opened eight UK stores in the quarter, four of them in the ASDA Living format.

Overall, Wal-Mart's net profit increased 7.9% to $2.86bn, or 70 cents a share, from $2.65bn, or 63 cents, a year earlier. Excluding a 1 cent tax benefit related to real estate sales, the profit exceeded the 67 cent average estimate of analysts.

Turnover for the three months ending October 31 climbed 8.8% to $90.9bn and the chief executive, Lee Scott, said this fourth quarter should be the first to deliver sales of more than $100bn.