(Corrects figure in paragraph 2 to billion from million)
STOCKHOLM, April 24 (Reuters) - Gardening power tools maker Husqvarna said on Friday lockdowns due to COVID-19 in many key markets increasingly hit sales towards the end of the first quarter as it reported a slightly smaller than expected fall in operating earnings.
Operating profit was 1.42 billion Swedish crowns ($140.8 million) against a year-earlier 1.64 billion. Analysts had on average forecast an 1.33 billion crown profit, according to Refinitiv data.
Sales shrank 11% from year-ago in the quarter.
Husqvarna said on March 5 it expected disturbances related to the pandemic to reduce quarterly sales by 3% and that it was seeing no impact on retailers’ demand due to the pandemic at the time. ($1 = 10.0842 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard)