BENTONVILLE, AK-Boosted by strong Halloween business, Wal-Mart Inc. saw positive sales comparisons in the US, executives said at its third-quarter conference call. But China’s growth has been truly spectacular, the executives said.

Comp-store sales (excluding fuel) rose 1% at Wal-Mart stores and 3.9% at Sam’s Club for an overall 1.5% increase in the US. Halloween sales were particularly strong, with comp-store sales up 5%, reported Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO of the Wal-Mart Stores division. But comps in China rose 45% in the quarter. “Wal-Mart is a growing business with a strong balance sheet,” said Lee Scott, overall president and CEO. This week, the company will open its 3,000th international store, and various markets in addition to China are performing well. Canadian expansion is proceeding as scheduled, with the company on target to have 31 superstores by the end of the fiscal year. Asda stores in the United Kingdom are performing ahead of the market. Without currency adjustments, comp sales in Brazil and Central America are up 17%. Real comps in both markets are in the low single digits.

Net sales for the third quarter were approximately $90.9 billion, up 8.8% more than the third quarter of last year. Sales for Wal-Mart Stores were $57.6 billion, up 6.4% from the previous year. Sam’s Club stores rose 6.1% to $10.8 billion, and international store sales were $22.4 billion, up 16.9%. Earnings were $2.9 billion, up from $2.6 billion last year.

The company operates Wal-Mart discount stores, supercenters, neighborhood markets and Sam’s Club locations in the US. The company operates under various banners in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the UK.

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