Retail giant Wal-Mart Inc on Tuesday posted a 13.1 per cent jump in second quarter net earnings amid strong sales growth at its US stores.

The Arkansas-based company, which operates more than 3,000 stores worldwide, said its net earnings rose to $2.04 billion from $1.62bn in the year-ago period.

Total sales soared to $59.69bn from $52.8bn in 2001 with sales at Wal-Mart stores up 14 per cent to $38.6bn and international sales up 15.9 per cent. Sales at its Sam’s Club division jumped 9.2 per cent, while UK profit growth beat sales growth.

For the first half, net sales rose 13.7 per cent to were $114.6bn and net income soared 23 per cent to a record $3.6bn.

Wal-Mart chief executive Lee Scott said in a statement he sees same-store sales growth for the third quarter of between four and six per cent. He added: “We are pleased to report another record quarter of sales and earnings.

“For the first time in our history, we generated over $2bn in net income in a non-holiday quarter. Through the efforts of our associates and thanks to our loyal customers, we achieved nearly a 26 per cent increase in net income for the quarter on a 13.1 per cent increase in sales.”