AutoZone 1st Quarter Same Store Sales Increase 3.5%; EPS Increases 14.0% to $8.29

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 8, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) today reported net sales of $2.4 billion for its first quarter (12 weeks) ended November 21, 2015, an increase of 5.6% from the first quarter of fiscal 2015 (12 weeks). Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 3.5% for the quarter.Net income for the quarter increased 8.3% over the same period last year to $258.1 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 14.0% to $8.29 per share from $7.27 per share in the year-ago quarter.For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 52.5% (versus 52.1% for last year’s quarter). The improvement in gross margin was attributable to higher merchandise margins, partially offset by higher supply chain costs associated with current year inventory initiatives (-37 bps). Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 34.2% (versus 34.0% last year). The increase in operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, was primarily due to higher domestic store payroll (-21 bps) and the impact of IMC (-16 bps), which were partially offset by the favorable comparison to last year’s higher legal costs (+21 bps).Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 537 thousand shares of its common stock for $400 million during the first quarter, at an average price of $746 per share. At the end of the first quarter, the Company had $698 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.The Company’s inventory increased 7.2% over the same period last year, driven by increased product placement and new locations during the fiscal year. Inventory per location was $624 thousand versus $604 thousand last year and $610 thousand last quarter. Net inventory, defined as merchandise inventories less accounts payable, on a per location basis was a negative $66 thousand versus negative $76 thousand last year and negative $79 thousand last quarter.“I would like to thank our entire organization for delivering another quarter of very solid financial results. We are pleased to report our thirty-seventh consecutive quarter of double digit earnings per share growth.  Our strong culture enables us to provide exceptional customer service which is a key point of differentiation.  We continued implementation of our inventory availability initiatives.  At the end of the quarter, we have expanded our increased frequency of distribution center deliveries initiative to just under 1,000 domestic AutoZone stores and expect by the end of the fiscal year to be servicing approximately 2,000 of our over 5,000 domestic AutoZone stores.  We also plan to open approximately five additional Mega Hubs by the end of the fiscal year.  Our results to date continue to meet or exceed our expectations, further confirming our new inventory deployment strategy.  While we continue to strategically invest in our business in order to support our growth, we remain committed to our disciplined approach to growing operating earnings and utilizing our capital effectively,” said Bill Rhodes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.During the quarter ended November 21, 2015, AutoZone opened 22 new stores and relocated one store in the U.S., opened one new store in Mexico, opened one new store in Brazil, and opened two new IMC branches. As of November 21, 2015, the Company had 5,163 stores in 50 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, 442 stores in Mexico, 22 IMC branches, and eight stores in Brazil for a total count of 5,635.AutoZone is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. Each AutoZone store carries an extensive product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products.  Many stores also have a commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and prompt delivery of parts and other products to local, regional and national repair garages, dealers, service stations, and public sector accounts.  IMC branches carry an extensive line of original equipment quality import replacement parts. AutoZone also sells the ALLDATA brand diagnostic and repair software through www.alldata.com. Additionally, we sell automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products through www.autozone.com, and accessories and performance parts through www.autoanything.com, and our commercial customers can make purchases through www.autozonepro.com and www.imcparts.net. AutoZone does not derive revenue from automotive repair or installation.AutoZone will host a conference call this morning, Tuesday, December 8, 2015, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (EST) to discuss its first quarter results. Investors may listen to the conference call live and review supporting slides on the AutoZone corporate website, www.autozoneinc.com by clicking “Investor Relations,” “Conference Calls.” The call will also be available by dialing (210) 839-8923. A replay of the call and slides will be available on AutoZone’s website. In addition, a replay of the call will be available by dialing (203) 369-1211 through Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. (EST).This release includes certain financial information not derived in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). These non-GAAP measures include adjustments to reflect return on invested capital, adjusted debt, adjusted debt to EBITDAR, and cash flow before share repurchases. The Company believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP measures provides information that is useful to investors as it indicates more clearly the Company’s comparative year-to-year operating results, but this information should not be considered a substitute for any measures derived in accordance with GAAP. Management targets the Company’s capital structure in order to maintain its investment grade credit ratings and manages cash flows available for share repurchase by monitoring cash flows before share repurchases, as shown on the attached tables. The Company believes this is important information for the management of its debt levels and share repurchases. We have included a reconciliation of this additional information to the most comparable GAAP measures in the accompanying reconciliation tables.Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements typically use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “should,” “intend,” “plan,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “positioned,” “strategy” and similar expressions. These are based on assumptions and assessments made by our management in light of experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors that we believe to be appropriate. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including without limitation: credit market conditions; the impact of recessionary conditions; competition; product demand; the ability to hire and retain qualified employees; consumer debt levels; inflation; weather; raw material costs of our suppliers; energy prices; war and the prospect of war, including terrorist activity; construction delays; access to available and feasible financing; the compromising of the confidentiality, availability or integrity of information, including cyber security attacks; and changes in laws or regulations. Certain of these risks are discussed in more detail in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Item 1A under Part 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended August 29, 2015, and these Risk Factors should be read carefully. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results; developments and business decisions may differ from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements, and events described above and in the “Risk Factors” could materially and adversely affect our business. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. Except as required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Actual results may materially differ from anticipated results.Financial: Brian Campbell at
(901) 495-7005,

Media: Ray Pohlman at
(866) 966-3017,

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