First-quarter profits at Simpson Manufacturing Co., whose subsidiary Simpson Strong-Tie produces structural connectors, inched upward by 1.7% from a year earlier to hit $7.2 million, the company reported Thursday. Despite the minimal gains, revenues jumped 20% to $158.7 million for the period, beating analyst expectations by 7.2% and due in part to a mild winter in North America and an expanded presence in Europe, the company said.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based firm reported increased quarterly sales from a year ago among all its distribution channels and geographic regions, California excepted; sales to contractor distributors and lumber dealers were also above-average for the period. 

Gross margins were up 7.5% from a year ago, with a $69.4 million gross profit resulting in a 43.7% margin for the quarter. The cost of sales jumped 18% for the period, reaching $89.3 million. The company noted that an increase in material and labor expenses as a percentage of sales was offset by the strong sales volume, which brought down fixed overhead costs.

Operating profits grew 10% to reach $13.5 million for the period due to integration and incremental expenses associated with first-quarter acquisitions including that of reinforcement systems producer S&P Clever, which has manufacturing locations in Europe.