Shares of Virco Mfg. Corp. fell more than 4 percent on Wednesday after the furniture maker reported lower fiscal first quarter revenue. It also warned that demand from its core K-12 public school market remains unpredictable.

The Torrance company, which specializes in contracts with schools, reported a first-quarter net loss of $4.4 million (31 cents a share) for the quarter ended April 30, compared with a loss of $4.8 million (-34 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Net sales fell 16 percent to $23.6 million.

Virco was able to shrink its loss largely due to lower operating costs. The company has significantly downsized over the past year and now employs 30 percent fewer people than it did last summer.

Monthly order rates during the quarter were volatile, very slow in February and March then jumping in April to better than a year earlier, a trend that continued into May.

Public school districts “are continuing to suffer severe budget challenges,” Chief Executive Robert Virtue cautioned in a letter to investors. “Our market remains highly volatile and current trends could deteriorate or improve as the year progresses.”

Shares closed down 10 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $2.80 on the Nasdaq.