Brisk sales of do-it-yourself repair parts lifted AutoZone Inc.'s profit almost 14 percent in the fiscal fourth quarter, beating Wall Street expectations.
AutoZone and other auto parts chains have thrived during the economic downturn as penny-pinching consumers keep their cars longer, boosting sales of maintenance parts. It was the 16th straight quarter of double-digit growth in AutoZone's earnings per share.
The Memphis, Tenn., company said it opened 80 new stores during the quarter, bringing its store count to 4,627. Revenue at stores open at least a year — a key measure of performance among retailers — rose 6.7 percent.
AutoZone also announced Jim Shea, executive vice president for marketing, merchandising and supply chain, will retire at the end of October. No replacement was named.
AutoZone said net income rose to $268.9 million, or $5.66 per share, for the 16 weeks ended Aug. 28, up from $236.1 million, or $4.43 per share, a year ago.
The increase in earnings per share reflected not only improved financial performance but a sizable reduction in the number of shares outstanding versus a year ago.
Revenue rose nearly 10 percent to $2.45 billion from $2.32 billion a year earlier.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $5.44 per share on $2.4 billion in sales.
Shares rose 88 cents at $221.02 in pre-market trading on Tuesday.
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