The Toro Company has reported net earnings of $25.9 million on net sales of $446 million for its fiscal 2014 first quarter ended January 31, 2014. In the comparable fiscal 2013 period, the company delivered net earnings of $31.4 million on net sales of $444.7 million.
“Significant snowfall across key North American markets this winter season spurred retail demand for our snow products—helping to drive sales for the quarter and providing a solid start to our 2014 fiscal year,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The combination of more abundant snow conditions, stronger international demand and solid execution by our team helped us to temper the challenging year-over-year quarterly comparisons we faced due to the Tier 4 diesel engine transition that accelerated sales of large turf equipment into our first quarter last year. In addition, we finished our first quarter more favorably situated in terms of field inventory levels as compared to last year, considering that pre-Tier 4 equipment sales last year went into our channel while snow products sold this year moved all the way through to end-user customers.
“Looking ahead to our primary selling season, we are well-positioned across our businesses to drive retail sales and increase our market share. Golf course development and renovations continue to progress and customers and channel partners alike are excited about our innovative new equipment and irrigation offerings, including those featured at the recent Golf Industry Show—the Sand Pro zero-turn mechanical bunker rake, the Multi Pro advanced spraying systems, and the Infinity golf sprinklers with unique Smart Access to internal components. Landscape contractor equipment sales are poised to benefit from the additional revenues generated by contractors this winter, as well as the increased demand we expect for our zero turn-radius mowers featuring new electronic fuel injection and onboard intelligence technologies. Global food demand and increased water use restrictions continue to drive the need for more efficient irrigation solutions for agriculture, including our new Neptune thin wall drip line with flat emitter technology.
“Although we are optimistic, it is early in our fiscal year, our peak selling season is still in front of us, and we remain mindful of the challenges we could face if we encounter unfavorable swings in economic or weather conditions."
The company now expects revenue growth for fiscal 2014 to be about 5-6%.
Professional Segment Results
Professional segment net sales for the first quarter totaled $295.5 million, down 10.2% from the same period last year. This decrease primarily was attributable to strong channel demand in the first quarter of last fiscal year that was not repeated this year for large turf equipment subject to the Tier 4 diesel engine emission requirements.
Sales benefited this year from pre-season shipments of landscape maintenance equipment, including zero-turn products with electronic fuel injection and onboard intelligence technologies, in anticipation of retail demand. Rental and construction equipment sales grew on increased demand for Toro products, including recently acquired products newly introduced under the Toro brand. Global micro-irrigation sales increased with continued demand for more efficient irrigation solutions for agriculture.
Residential Segment Results
Residential segment net sales for the first quarter totaled $147.6 million, up 22.0% from the same period last year. This increase primarily was driven by retail demand for snow products due to significant snowfall across key North American markets this winter season. Sales also benefited from pre-season shipments of domestic residential zero turn-radius mowers in anticipation of the continuing transition of consumers to this mowing platform, as well as additional shipments of handheld solutions.