BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) Aug. 22 reported net earnings of $40.1 million, or $0.68 per share, on a net sales increase of 1.2 percent to $509.9 million for its fiscal third quarter ended August 2, 2013. In the comparable fiscal 2012 period, the company delivered net earnings of $40.5 million, or $0.67 per share, on net sales of $504.1 million.

For the first nine months, Toro reported net earnings of $149.9 million, or $2.53 per share, on a net sales increase of 2.4 percent to $1,659.1 million. In the comparable fiscal 2012 period, the company posted net earnings of $129.3 million, or $2.13 per share, on net sales of $1,619.4 million.

For the quarter, our results were strengthened by a summer growing season with favorable temperatures and precipitation levels as compared to last year’s severe drought conditions,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer.

“The more desirable weather helped us drive retail sales across most of our businesses and, in particular, our residential business. In addition to realizing sales delayed in the prior quarter by adverse spring weather conditions, our residential business benefited from increased demand for our new and innovative products, including our Timecutter zero turn radius riding products and our recently introduced line of lithium-ion battery-powered string and hedge trimmers.”

“As anticipated, the Tier 4 diesel engine transition-which caused a significant portion of our professional sales to be accelerated into our first quarter from later quarters as we’ve historically seen-continued to impact the quarterly results for our professional business. Year-to-date our results are solid and our business fundamentals remain sound. Our golf and landscape contractor businesses are benefitting from innovative and high performing equipment offerings valued by our end-user customers, we continue to grow our micro irrigation business around the world, and we realized additional sales from increased customer demand for our rental products and newly introduced Toro-branded underground and construction products.”

“Looking ahead, although we are always mindful of the challenges that Mother Nature can create for us, as well as continuing expectations for slow worldwide economic growth, we remain cautiously optimistic about the remainder of our year. We expect favorable sales comparisons to last year’s fourth quarter when limited prior season snowfall in North America and Europe significantly affected demand for our snowthrower products.\\

The company now expects revenue growth for fiscal 2013 to be about 4 percent and net earnings to be about 2.55 per share, or an increase of about 19 percent over fiscal 2012.

Professional

Professional segment net sales for the third quarter totaled $343.9 million, down 4.8 percent from the prior year period. The quarterly sales decrease primarily was attributable to the Tier 4 diesel engine transition and related acceleration of a significant portion of our professional sales into our first quarter from later quarters as historically experienced.

Offsetting the decrease, shipments of landscape contractor equipment benefited from increased demand for our zero turn radius products driven by more favorable weather conditions this quarter compared to the drought conditions last year, as well as newly introduced product offerings.

Rental and construction equipment sales were up on increased product demand. Global micro irrigation sales increased on continued demand for more efficient irrigation solutions for agriculture. For the first nine months, professional segment net sales were $1,169.4 million, up 6.2 percent from the comparable fiscal 2012 period.

Professional segment earnings for the third quarter totaled $60.5 million, down 14.2 percent from the prior year period. For the first nine months, professional segment earnings were $233.5 million, up 10.5 percent from the comparable fiscal 2012 period.

Residential

Residential segment net sales for the third quarter totaled $155.5 million, up 14.4 percent from the prior year period. Favorable temperatures and precipitation levels in the quarter led to sales increases across all summer product categories, including riding products, walk power mowers and handheld trimmer and blower products. For the first nine months, residential segment net sales were $477.8 million, down 5.5 percent from the comparable fiscal 2012 period. The year-to-date sales results largely were attributable to the unusually mild 2012/2013 winter season and the late start to spring.

Residential segment earnings for the third quarter totaled $15.1 million, up 50 percent from the prior year period. For the first nine months, residential segment earnings were $51.9 million, up 1.4 percent from the comparable fiscal 2012 period.