STIHL Inc. announced that first-quarter sales exceeded those of the previous year despite the softened handheld outdoor power equipment market.

"We are sensing that in a challenging economy, consumers want to buy reliable, long-lasting products to make their dollars go further," said STIHL Inc.'s President Fred Whyte. "We are experiencing renewed optimism from our customers for continued economic recovery, and these results are certainly encouraging."

STIHL Inc., which employs over 2,000 people in its manufacturing facility and branch offices in the U.S., reported that sales of its handheld equipment were up over 5 percent for the first quarter 2009. The company credited its distribution channels and the release of several new products as contributing to the performance. "When money is tight, consumers buy from someone with whom they have a relationship and they trust," said Whyte. 

"The only place you can purchase our line of equipment is at a dealer who not only sells but services our product, assuring the buyer of quality and performance throughout the life of the product."  

An increasing eco-consciousness among consumers is also seen as contributing to the increase in sales. "We are launching twelve new products this year under our 'Caring for Nature' line in our commitment to socially responsible environmental stewardship," said Whyte. "As a leader in the industry, we believe it is our duty to deliver the performance our customers demand, while reducing emissions and noise."