AutoZone Sales 'significantly' Miss Expectations

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

AutoZone Inc. reported Tuesday fiscal third-quarter net income that rose to $331.7 million, or $11.44 a share, from $327.5 million, or $10.77 a share, in the same period a year ago. The auto parts and accessories retailer missed the FactSet consensus for earnings per share of $11.99. Revenue increased to $2.62 billion from $2.59 billion, but was below the FactSet consensus of $2.71 billion. Domestic same-store sales declined 0.8%, missing the FactSet consensus for 2.7% growth. "Our sales performance for the first five weeks of our quarter was significantly below our expectations, challenged by the well-publicized timing delays in IRS tax refunds," said Chief Executive Bill Rhodes. "The last seven weeks of sales demonstrated improvement, but not enough to make up for our soft start." The stock, which was indicated down more than 2% in premarket trade, has tumbled 16.5% year to date through Monday, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.9%.

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