Sales were $1.51 billion, a modest 1.3% above analyst projections. Nonetheless, non-GAAP earnings jumped 71% higher year over year, surging past Wall Street targets set at $1.25 per share to land at $1.44 per share.
"We delivered record first quarter results, driven by 61% growth in our SSD revenue and strong retail performance," explained SanDisk CEO Sanjay Mehrotra in a prepared statement.
On a conference call with analysts, CFO Judy Bruner said that the product mix shifted away from low-margin embedded solutions and into solutions such as iNAND mobile storage and full-blown solid-state drives, spearheaded by a new demand profile from major customer Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F ) during the quarter.
The shifting demand picture drove gross margins higher in the first quarter, and the profits trickled all the way down to the bottom line. Bruner also said that this trend should continue in the second quarter, keeping margins strong once again. Gross margin guidance for the full year was moved about 3% higher, with the new target range between 47% and 49%.
Including the after-hours surge, SanDisk shares have gained 39% over the past year, and are trading close to all-time highs that were set earlier this month.