One of the coldest Aprils in 20 years slowed sales of Toro Co.'s lawn mowers for residential users in North America and Europe.
Yet sales to the professional segment, Toro's largest and less weather-dependent, experienced an 8 percent bump, balanced across the segment's more diverse markets.
"Our residential segment was not immune to the challenges experienced industrywide, caused by a slow start to spring in North America and Europe," said the Bloomington-based company's CEO Richard Olson in a statement. "We are, however, encouraged by the weather patterns in May, and we are hopeful that they will continue for the balance of our peak turf season."
Sales for the quarter were $875.3 million, up less than 1 percent and shy of Wall Street estimates.
Net income for the quarter ended May 4 rose 9 percent to $131.3 million, or $1.21 a share. Adjusted earnings per share were $1.20, which handily beat expectations.
The company said residential sales were $212.2 million, down 17.8 percent compared with the second quarter last year, while sales in the professional segment grew 8.1 percent to $660.4 million.
Olson said on the company's earnings call that residential customers are less likely to buy a lawn mower when they are shoveling sidewalks in April.
However, the late-season winter storms did have the benefit of clearing dealer inventories of snowblowers and setting up good demand for preseason ordering later in the year and the introduction of new snow and ice management products.
The professional segment, which is less affected by weather, saw strong sales growth of zero-turn mowers to the landscape contractor market and sales of rotary mowers and large reel units to golf and grounds markets.
The company maintained its sales guidance for the remainder of the year but slightly lowered earnings guidance. Toro still expects revenue for fiscal 2018 to grow about 4 percent but now expects adjusted net earnings per share to be about $2.66 to $2.71 for the year. In Toro's first-quarter earnings release, the company said it expected earnings per share in the range of $2.67 to $2.73 for the year.
The company's stock was up 3 percent to close Thursday at $61.98.