* Sales recovery as restrictions eased
* Strong demand for gardening and lawn care products
* Profit margin widened (Adds detail, background, shares)
STOCKHOLM, July 8 (Reuters) - Husqvarna, the world’s biggest maker of gardening power tools, saw a rise in second-quarter operating profit as turnover fell less than expected, it said on Wednesday.
Operating profit rose to 2.19 billion Swedish crowns ($237.1 million) from 2.13 billion a year earlier, as sales fell 2% to 13.5 billion, preliminary results showed.
The global leader in robotic lawn mowers and garden watering systems had on June 8 predicted a 10% sales drop.
“After a challenging start to the quarter, demand accelerated quickly as markets gradually reopened and consumers showed a high interest in lawn and garden care equipment, especially for watering products,” CEO Henric Andersson said.
“The effects of temporary cost avoidance activities and a favourable product mix improved our operating margin,” he added in a statement.
Husqvarna’s shares were up 2% at 1305 GMT, taking a year-to-date rise to 5%. The group will publish full quarterly earnings on July 16.
$1 = 9.2375 Swedish crowns Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter