The Toro Company reported record first quarter revenues, up 10.6% from the first quarter of the previous fiscal year, and said it saw strong demand for both residential and professional outdoor power equipment.
Toro's net earnings were $19.9 million on net sales of $423.8 million in the first quarter, which ended Feb. 3, 2012. In the comparable fiscal 2011 period Toro had net earnings of $17.3 million on net sales of $383.2 million.
Residential segment net sales for the fiscal 2012 first quarter were $137.6 million, up 11.6% from 1Q fiscal 2011. Segment earnings in fiscal 2012 1Q were $12.6 million, up 10.9% from $11.4 million in 1Q fiscal 2011.
Toro reported consumers were enthusiastic about its residential zero turn riding mowers, while retailers' desire to take delivery of walk power mower products earlier helped spur early shipments. Sales of Pope-brand products in Australia grew significantly as a result of weather conditions. Weather was not as cooperative in the Northern Hemisphere, where unseasonably low snowfall reduced in-season demand for snow products, which slowed Toro's sales of snowthrowers and service parts.
Professional segment net sales for the fiscal 2012 first quarter were $283.8 million, up 9.9% from 1Q fiscal 2011. Segment earnings were $42.1 million, up 11% from $37.9 million last year.
Shipments of golf equipment were up worldwide, which Toro said was the result of customers investing in maintenance products for their courses. Micro-irrigation sales continue to be strong on growing acceptance amongst growers of drip irrigation technologies and our related increased capacities. Sales growth in the quarter was boosted by revenue from Unique Lighting Systems, acquired a year ago by Toro.
Commenting on Toro's 2012 outlook, Hoffman said: "As we head into our primary selling season, customers are optimistic about the year ahead, based on early channel demand."
Factoring in the stronger sales growth from the first quarter and recent acquisitions, Toro now expects a revenue increase for fiscal 2012 of about 6% to 7%.
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