AutoZone Shares Hit Life High on Strong 3Q Performance

Shares of AutoZone (NYSE: AZO) reached an all-time high on Tuesday after the biggest U.S. auto parts retail chain revealed a stronger-than-expected 12.1% improvement in third-quarter profit.

The Memphis-based company posted net income of $277.4 million, or $5.29 a share, compared with $202.7 million, or $4.12 a share, in the same quarter last year, beating the Street’s view of $4.98.

Revenue for the three weeks ended May 7 was $1.98 billion, up 8.6% from $1.82 billion a year ago, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $1.92 billion.

During the quarter, AutoZone improved its gross margin on higher merchandise margins, led by further penetration of Duralast product sales, partially offset by slightly higher operating expenses on higher fuel costs and hub store investments.

“We are very pleased to announce another quarter of strong performance,” AutoZone CEO Bill Rhodes said in a statement. “This marks the tenth consecutive quarter of 20% plus growth in earnings per share and our nineteenth consecutive quarter of double digit growth.”

Last quarter, the company opened 43 new stores, closed one, and opened 12 new stores in Mexico, amounting to a total of 4,467 shops in the U.S. and 261 stores in Mexico.