AutoZone revs up 4Q sales, earnings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Same-store sales growth and a number of new store opening helped Autozone deliver another impressive quarter, while helping the company maintain its position as a leading automotive parts retailer for both everyday consumers and professionals.

Autozone reported net sales of $2.6 billion for its fourth quarter ended Aug. 27, an increase of 8.1% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Domestic same-store sales increased 4.5% for the quarter.

Net income for the quarter increased $32.5 million, or 12.1%, over the same period last year to $301.5 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 26.9% to $7.18 per share from $5.66 per share in the year-ago quarter.

During the quarter, AutoZone opened 68 new stores, replaced five stores, and closed one store in the United States and opened 18 new stores in Mexico. As of Aug. 27, the company had 4,534 stores in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the U.S. and 279 stores in Mexico.

"Our fourth quarter performance was a strong conclusion to a record breaking year for AutoZone. At the beginning of the year, we challenged the organization to build on the robust performance we had experienced over the last two years. Our AutoZoners, through their passion, dedication and never ending commitment to meet or exceed our customers' expectations, delivered. For fiscal 2011, we delivered 30% growth in earnings per share. We also achieved several all-time company records; exceeded $8 billion in sales, surpassed $1 billion in commercial sales, grew fiscal year EBIT margin to 18.5% and exceeded 30% return on invested capital ending the year at 31.3%. This financial success is a direct result of the tremendous contributions of our more than 60,000 dedicated AutoZoners, and I would like to congratulate them on this exceptional performance," said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO.

For the fiscal year ended Aug. 27, sales were $8.1 billion, an increase of 9.6% from the prior year, while domestic same-store sales were up 6.3%. For fiscal 2011, net income increased 15% to $849 million, while diluted earnings per share for the period increased 30% to $19.47 from $14.97.