Snow-thrower sales lift Toro sales slightly

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Toro got a slight sales bump in its first quarter, thanks to a relatively snowy winter, the Pioneer Press reports.

The Minnesota-based manufacturer of snow blowers and yard machines reported its sales were up 1 percent to $446 million in the company quarter that ended Jan. 31.

“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,” CEO Michael Hoffman said Thursday.

But there was some bad news for the company – overall net earnings declined to $25.9 million in the most recent quarter from $31.4 million a year ago.

Hoffman hopefully noted that the company's primary selling season is still yet to come and that the company is still "well-positioned" to drive earnings.

Toro projects second-quarter earnings of $1.45 to $1.50 per share, less than the $1.54 analysts had been expecting, but for the year, Toro expects earnings of of $2.90 to $2.95 a share, a 5 to 6 percent increase, about what analysts expected, the Star Tribune reports.

Last year, the Bloomington-based company was hurt by unusual weather patterns, particularly in the second quarter when lawn machine sales dipped due to a late-arriving spring.

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