Homeowners snapped up snowblowers and professional landscape contractors looking to get a jump on the coming season bought zero-turn mowers, propelling Toro Co. to a stronger-than-expected first quarter.

The Bloomington-based company earned $111.3 million, or $1.02 per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 29. Earnings increased more than 57% from the first quarter a year ago. Adjusted earnings were $93.2 million, or 85 cents per share, a 33% increase on revenue that was up 14% to $873 million.

"We began fiscal 2021 with strong momentum across our professional and residential businesses," Richard Olson, chairman and chief executive of Toro, said in the Thursday earnings release.

"This drove double-digit top-line growth in the current dynamic environment, primarily due to higher shipments of professional landscape contractor zero-turn riding mowers and robust retail demand for residential snow equipment and Flex-Force battery-powered products."

Residential customers tend to buy products in season and sales in the residential segment rose 31% to $217.7 million on strong snow equipment demand.

Earnings for the segment were $32.1 million, up 49% from the first quarter of fiscal 2020.

Landscape contractors purchasing zero-turn mowers ahead of the spring and summer turf season helped drive sales in the larger professional segment, which had a 9% increase in revenue to $650.2 million as segment earnings rose 14% to $116.8 million.

Olson sees promising demand trends for the remainder of their fiscal year. "We are well positioned with our suite of new products to capitalize on the recovery occurring across core markets," he said as he reaffirmed financial guidance for the remainder of the fiscal year in which Toro expects revenue to grow 6 to 8% for the year and adjusted EPS to fall in the range of $3.35 to $3.45 per share.

Shares of Toro closed at $98.46 Friday, up 1.9% for the day. Year to date, shares are up about 5.4%.

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926