Washington - Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday posted a slight profit rise for its fiscal second quarter, as the world's largest retailer struggles with weak US same-store sales.

Comparable-store sales in the United States, Wal-Mart's largest market that includes its Walmart brand and Sam's Club stores, were flat, in line with the company's forecast.

Net income for the quarter ended July 31 was $4.09 billion (R43 billion), up 0.6 percent from a year ago.

Adjusted earnings per share were $1.21, matching Wall Street estimates.

Revenue beat expectations, rising 2.8 percent year-over-year to $119.33 billion.

Wal-Mart lowered its 2014 earnings forecast to earnings per share between $4.90 and $5.15, from the prior estimate of $5.10-5.45, citing investments in e-commerce and higher US health care costs than previously anticipated.

Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart's president and chief executive, said the company had clocked up encouraging performances in its international business, its new smaller-sized Neighborhood Market stores in the US and in e-commerce.

“We wanted to see stronger comps in Walmart US and Sam's Club, but both reported flat comp sales. Stronger sales in the US businesses would've also helped our profit performance.”

Shares in Dow component Wal-Mart were down 0.1 percent at $73.93 in pre-market trade on the New York Stock Exchange. - Sapa-AFP