Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Thursday reported a stronger-than-expected 5 percent rise in sales at U.S. stores open at least a year in April, helped by demand for Easter merchandise.

Analysts, on average, were expecting the company's same-store sales to rise 2.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters Estimates.

The world's biggest retailer said Easter seasonal products posted a same-store sales gain in the high single-digits compared with a year ago. For the month ended May 1, Wal-Mart said net sales rose 2.4 percent to $29.853 billion.

Earlier this year, Wal-Mart said it would no longer provide monthly sales forecasts. Instead, the world's biggest retailer said it would give forecasts for 13-week periods that roughly track its quarterly financial reporting periods.

The retailer said on Thursday that it will provide its next 13-week forecast when it reports quarterly results on May 14.

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)