Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) said Thursday that April same-store sales declined more than previously expected at 3.5 percent due to weather conditions, and an earlier Easter.

The firm reported that Wal-Mart sales dropped by 4.6 percent, while the company’s Sam’s Club division saw a 2.5 percent increase. The overall results came in short of the company’s estimate of a 2 percent decline in sales for April.

The firm said sales for grocery items were stronger than general merchandise. Sales in apparel were “soft” due to cold weather affecting traffic and seasonal merchandise. Pet supply sales were also down as several pet food makers recalled some items.

The firm’s international sales were led by the United Kingdom’s Asda stores. The firm said customer-focused initiatives drove traffic to stores and boosted food and general merchandise sales..

Looking ahead May, the company expects same-store sales to rise 1 to 2 percent for the four week reporting period from May 5 to June 1.

For the second quarter of fiscal year 2008, the retailer expects sales to rise 1 to 2 percent.

Overall net sales for the month rose 3.7 percent to $26.57 billion.

The company will announce its first quarter earnings on May 15.

Share of Wal-Mart dropped 53 cents, or 1.11 percent, to $47.40 in pre-market trading.