Mattress maker Sealy Corp's quarterly profit edged past market expectations, helped by strong demand in its international markets and on lower costs.

For the fourth quarter ended November 28, international net sales rose 15.2 percent to $72.0 million.

The Trinity, North Carolina-based company reported earnings from continuing operations of $3.5 million, or 3 cents a share.

Sealy's sales have come under pressure as the company has had to lower its prices in response to rivals pricing their entry level mattresses more competitively.

The company, which divested its European manufacturing operations in November to control costs, has also been facing tough competition from specialty competitors like Tempur-Pedic International Inc and Select Comfort Corp .

For the quarter, gross margin rose 35 basis points to 41.4 percent.

Shares of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co-controlled Sealy, which have gained nearly 7 percent since the company reported third-quarter results in September, closed at $2.99 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Renju Jose in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)