Do AutoZone Q4 Earnings Mean It Is on the Right Track?

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AutoZone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. Previously, we explored whether this earnings report could turn the stock around after a rough summer. Although the report wasn’t spectacular, it is a step in the right direction compared to the third-quarter report.

The company said that it had $15.18 in earnings per share (EPS) and $3.51 billion in revenue in the latest period. That compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $15.11 in EPS and revenue of $3.49 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $14.30 and $3.40 billion in revenue.

Domestic same-store sales increased 1.0% for the quarter.

During the quarter, AutoZone opened 84 new stores and relocated one store in the United States. At the same time, the company had 5,465 domestic stores.

Looking ahead, management plans to fine-tune its inventory availability initiatives, including multiple deliveries per week to stores. The firm expects to continue with these initiatives in 2018 while opening the previously announced Florida distribution center by the middle of the fiscal year.

Although the company did not issue guidance for the coming quarter, analysts in general expect to see $9.94 in EPS and $2.55 billion in revenue.

On the books, AutoZone cash and cash equivalents totaled $293.27 million at the end of the quarter, compared with $189.73 million in the same period of last year.

Bill Rhodes, board char, president and CEO of AutoZone, commented:

For the fourth quarter, our same store sales rebounded modestly from the previous two quarters. Our 1.0% same store sales were still moderately below our recent historical experience and we attribute this shortfall primarily to the continuing headwinds resulting from two consecutive mild winters. We believe we are well positioned to grow sales further in 2018. For the year, we reached many milestones which included generating a record $10.9 billion in sales, opening 215 AutoZone stores across the Americas and opening two new distribution centers.

Shares of AutoZone traded early Monday up about 3% at $581.16, with a consensus analyst price target of $660.95 and a 52-week range of $491.13 to $813.70.