Autozone Hit by Poor Same-Store Sales

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Autozone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) this morning reported fiscal fourth quarter 2012 earnings per share (EPS) of $8.46 on revenue of $2.8 billion. In the same period a year ago, the auto parts retailer reported EPS of $7.18 on revenue of $2.64 billion. First-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $8.41 and $2.8 billion in revenue.

For the full fiscal year, the company posted EPS of $23.48 on revenue of $8.6 billion, compared with the consensus estimates for EPS of $23.37 on sales of $8.64 billion.

Same-store sales rose 2.1% in the quarter, less than half the 4.5% increase in the same period a year ago. The company’s chairman/president/CEO said:

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.

Autozone did not provide guidance, but consensus estimates call for first quarter EPS of $5.45 on revenue of $2.05 billion. For the full 2013 fiscal year, the consensus estimate for EPS is $27.12 and $9.2 billion in revenue.

The company repurchased $1.4 billion worth of its stock during the 2012 fiscal year at an average price of $359 per share. Autozone has $356 million remaining in its current stock repurchase plan.

The weaker same-store sales are weighing on the share price this morning. Autozone’s share price has dropped about 3% in the past week, but it has risen about 10% so far in 2012. The company’s shares are down 4.4% in premarket trading this morning, at $357.84 in a 52-week range of $307.16 to $399.10.

Paul Ausick

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