AutoZone's 4Q Net Ticks Up 7.4%; Sales Trail Forecasts


Auto parts retail chain AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) logged a stronger-than-expected 7.4% jump in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, but the company’s sales growth slowed more than Wall Street had feared.

Shares of the No. 1 U.S. auto-parts retailer reversed about 1% on the mixed metrics.

Memphis-based AutoZone said it earned $323.7 million, or $8.46 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $301.5 million, or $7.18 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been calling for EPS of $8.40.

Revenue rose 5% to $2.76 billion, slowing from 8% growth in the year-earlier period and trailing the  Street’s view of $2.80 billion. Domestic same-store sales increased 2.1%, while gross margins ticked up to 51.8% from 51.2%.

AutoZone said its inventory jumped 6.6% year-over-year to about $525,000 per store.

“While our same-store sales performance was below our expectations for the quarter, we are confident we are well positioned to again deliver strong results for our new fiscal year,” CEO Bill Rhodes said in a statement.

Wall Street took issue with the sales miss, driving AutoZone’s sales 1.21% lower to $353.52 ahead of Wednesday’s open, putting them on track to cut their 10% year-to-date rally.