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Toro reports strong third quarter

BY HBSDealer Staff

Bloomington, Minn.-based Toro has posted third-quarter net earnings of $35.1 million, up 5% from net earnings of $33.4 million in the prior-year period.

Net sales for the quarter ended July 29 totaled $501 million, up 9% from net sales of $458.9 million in the third quarter of 2010.

"We delivered record sales over what was a good third quarter last year," said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO. "Unfortunately, weather around the country slowed sales in our residential and landscape contractor businesses, and a disappointing walk power mower rework issue negatively impacted earnings for the quarter. Even so, demand for golf and grounds equipment around the world remained strong, and adoption of our micro irrigation solutions continued to grow, which helped drive strong quarterly results."

For the first nine months, Toro reported net earnings of $112.6 million, up 25% from net earnings of $90 million in the comparable fiscal 2010 period. Net sales for this period totaled $1.52 billion, up 13% from net sales of $1.35 billion in the year-ago period.

Professional segment net sales for the third quarter totaled $346 million, up 8.8% from the prior-year period. Residential segment net sales for the third quarter totaled $147.5 million, up 8.6% from the third quarter of 2010. 

Toro expects net earnings for fiscal 2011 to be approximately $3.60 per share on a revenue increase of about 10% to 12%.

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Sears Holdings posts net loss of $146 million

BY HBSDealer Staff

Losses at Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings Corp. widened in the second quarter ended July 30. The company’s net loss was $146 million, compared with a loss of $39 million in the same quarter last year.

Total revenues decreased to $10.3 billion for the quarter, down slightly from $10.5 billion for the quarter ended July 31, 2010. Kmart’s comparable-store sales were flat, and Sears Domestic comparable store sales declined 1.2%.

Sears CEO Lou D’Ambrosio said the company is not satisfied with the results. "We are taking actions to turn around our performance in a challenging economic environment," he said.

Among those actions were the launch of new products. D’Ambrosio specifically mentioned the 31-cubic-ft. Kenmore Trio refrigerator, "as Kenmore recaptured the leadership position in major appliances.”

The company also attracted new leaders, including CFO Rob Schriesheim and Sears marketing head Monica Woo.

Sears closed 29 stores during the second quarter — 10 Kmart stores, three full-line stores, 12 hardware and appliance stores, two auto centers and two The Great Indoors stores.

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Lowe’s adds Spanish language Web option

BY HBSDealer Staff

Lowe’s launched Lowes.com en Español, a Spanish language option that enhances Lowe’s ability to meet the needs and expectations of Hispanic consumers.

“Our No. 1 priority at Lowe’s is to ensure our customers have the best possible experience shopping with us, whether they plan a project with our employees in the aisles of their local store or at home through our online tools and services,” said Gihad Jawhar, VP of Lowes.com. “Providing a Spanish language option on Lowes.com is a natural next step as our website develops to provide improved customer service.”

In addition to shop-and-compare functionality, Lowes.com en Español provides how-to articles for projects around the home. Translated how-to video content will follow, with availability in September. Content covers such topics as regular home maintenance, tips for planting edible gardens and step-by-step instructions for DIY projects such as building a deck.

LowesCreativeIdeas.com also launched in Spanish. Customers can access the Spanish language content by visiting LowesCreativeIdeas.com/espanol. Lowe’s Creative Ideas offers inspiration to first-time homeowners and savvy DIYers alike. Ideas Creativas de Lowe’s will launch in print this September in collaboration with Siempre Mujer magazine, followed by a Holiday 2011 edition.

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