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BENTONVILLE, AR-Wal-Mart overcame hurricanes and high fuel costs to post record sales and earnings during its third quarter, which ended Oct. 31. Executives say they expect the momentum to continue with a strong fourth quarter and holiday season.

Net sales were $75.4 billion, rising 10.1% from last year’s third quarter, while year-over-year same-store sales rose 3.8%. Wal-Mart stores’ comparable sales were up 2.9%, and Sam’s Club warehouse stores shot up 8.1%. Net income jumped 3.8%, to $2.4 billion, with earnings per share coming in at 57 cents.

Wal-Mart was also bolstered by strong international sales, which increased 14.2%, to $797 million. Mexico, China, Argentina and Brazil were among the strongest-performing countries, executives say. The largest retailer in the world was able post those numbers even as the hurricanes, high gas prices and other factors chipped its earnings by 2 cents per share.

An improving overall economy, as well as merchandise and operational strengthening could lead to strong months ahead, says H. Lee Scott, the company’s president and CEO. “I believe we will have a good holiday season,” he said, adding. “I like Wal-Mart’s prospects for this next fiscal year.”

Among the items that executives expect will sell well over the holidays include apparel, electronics, home goods and toys. More cold weather is also expected to lead to a lift in winter clothing sales.

For the current quarter, executives say they expect earnings per share to run between 82 cents and 86 cents. A $2.64 to $2.68 increase is forecast for the entire year.

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