The Toro Co. posted net earnings of $25.9 million, or 44 cents per share, on net sales of $446 million for its fiscal 2014 first quarter ended Jan. 31. For the same period a year ago, the company delivered net earnings of $31.4 million, 53 cents per share, on net sales of $444.7 million.

In its professional segment, net sales for the first quarter was $295.5 million, a 10.2-percent decline from the same period a year ago, primarily the result of strong channel demand in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year. The strong demand was not repeated for large turf equipment subject to Tier 4 diesel engine emission requirements that began phasing in for products manufactured after Jan. 1, 2013.

Rental and construction equipment sales grew, however, because of increased demand, including recently acquired products newly introduced under the Toro brand.

“Significant snowfall across key North American markets this winter spurred retail demand for our snow products, helping to drive sales for the quarter and providing a solid start to our 2014 fiscal year,” said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO. “The combination of more abundant snow conditions, stronger international demand and solid execution by our team helped us to temper the challenging year-over-year quarter comparisons we faced due to the Tier 4 diesel engine transition that accelerated sales of large turf equipment into our first quarter last year.

“Looking ahead to our primary selling season, we are well-positioned across our businesses to drive retail sales and increase our market share.”

Toro is based in Bloomington, Minn.