Aggressive price cuts and new apparel merchandise meant November sales at retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc "exceeded expectations," with same-store sales at its US stores rising 3.4%.

For the four weeks to 28 November, comparable store sales rose 3.4% at Walmart US and 3.5% at Sam's Club, with lower gas prices enabling customers to make more shopping trips and leaving them with more discretionary income to spend.

The retailer also said it saw strong sales on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

The month's net sales rose 1.6% to $32.2bn, from $31.7bn a year earlier, as sales at Walmart US rose 6.5% to $21.5bn and Sam's Club was up 1.4% to $3.7bn.

Sales at its international stores fell 11% to $7.1bn, which the retailer blamed on the stronger US dollar.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman, Wal-Mart Stores, said: "Even in a tighter economy, consumers want to celebrate the holidays with their families. They recognise that Walmart is the best destination to help them save money."

The retailer said it expects comparable store sales for December to be near the high end of earlier guidance for growth of 1-3%.