BROOKINGS, S.D., Aug. 21, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Daktronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:DAKT) today reported fiscal 2013 first quarter net sales of $132.9 million and net income of $6.7 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $118.7 million and net income of $3.4 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Fiscal 2013 first quarter orders were a record $173.5 million compared to $140.2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Backlog at the end of the fiscal 2013 first quarter was approximately $164 million, compared with a backlog of approximately $154 million a year earlier and $123 million at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. Free cash flow, defined as cash provided by operations, less net purchases of property and equipment, was $15.2 million through the first quarter of fiscal 2013, compared to $8.8 million through the same period in fiscal 2012. Cash and marketable securities at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were $63.9 million. "Our positive results for the quarter were led by an increase in our top line in conjunction with increased gross profit margins," said Jim Morgan, president and chief executive officer. "The increase in gross profit margins was primarily driven by higher than expected margins on large contracts in our Live Events and Transportation business units, including some unusually large gains on a few contracts." "The results also reflected the benefits of our emphasis on cost containment throughout the organization. Although operating expenses were up compared to a year ago, they were down by almost six percent from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. We are putting a continued emphasis on our cost infrastructure and look forward to achieving incremental earnings leverage as our sales increase," continued Morgan.