CarMax Needs to Figure Out How to Compete With New Car Dealers

Used Car
Source: Thinkstock
CarMax Inc. (NYSE: KMX) reported first-quarter 2016 results before markets opened Friday morning. The used-car retailer reported quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.86 on revenues of $4.01 billion. In the same period a year ago, CarMax reported EPS of $0.76 on revenue of $3.75 billion. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.86 and $4.15 billion in revenue.

The company did not offer guidance, but consensus second-quarter estimates call for EPS of $0.76 on revenues of $4.04 billion. For the full year, consensus estimates call for EPS of $3.02 on revenues of $15.84 billion.

CarMax repurchased 1.8 million shares of its common stock for $119.9 million in the first quarter, and it had $2.25 billion remaining in its buyback program at the end of May.

The company opened three stores during the quarter and another three so far in June. Another nine stores are scheduled to open in new and existing markets during the 2016 fiscal year, and three stores are planned for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

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The company’s CEO said:

We had another great quarter, setting all-time records for quarterly sales and earnings. Continued strong performances in our used, wholesale and [CarMax Auto Finance] operations, along with the growth of our store base and our ongoing share repurchase program, contributed to our solid results.

Same-store sales of used vehicles rose 4.9% year-over-year in the quarter. Revenues from same-store sales rose 3.4%. Unit sales of used vehicles rose 9.3% to 164,510, while new vehicle sales dropped 14.7% to 2,215. Sales of wholesale vehicles rose 4.7% to 101,630.

Average selling prices slipped 1.6% for used vehicles and rose 0.9% for new vehicles, while selling prices for wholesale vehicles remained flat.

The revenue miss will weigh on the stock in Friday trading, and the effect is likely to be compounded by the drop in average selling prices for used cars. Interest margin dropped by 0.4% in the company’s finance unit, even though income from the unit rose 5%.

Used car sales are being held down by strong sales of new cars. CarMax apparently tried to lure buyers with discounting, but that tactic is likely what caused the shortfall in revenues.

CarMax shares traded down about 4.5% in premarket trading Friday morning, at $68.70 in a 52-week range of $43.27 to $75.40. Thomson Reuters had a consensus price target of around $76.60 before the results were announced.

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