AutoZone fiscal 3Q profit rises 12 pct

MEMPHIS — AutoZone Inc. said Tuesday its fiscal third-quarter earnings climbed 12 percent, as Duralast product sales continued to help merchandise margins.

The results beat from the automotive parts retailer beat Wall Street expectations, sending its shares to a 52-week high.

The Memphis, Tenn., company also said sales at domestic stores open at least a year grew 5.3 percent. That metric is a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes stores that recently opened or closed.

Company shares climbed $15.93, to $292.70 in afternoon trading after rising to a 52-week high of $295 earlier in the session.

AutoZone reported net income of $227.4 million, or $5.29 per share, in the 12-week period that ended May 7. That’s up from $202.7 million, or $4.12 per share, in the same quarter last year. Revenue climbed 9 percent to $1.98 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of $4.97 per share on $1.92 billion in revenue.

The company also said its operating, selling, general and administrative expenses rose 9 percent in the quarter to $620.6 million. Cost of sales climbed 7 percent to $964.8 million.

AutoZone opened 43 new stores, closed one and replaced one in the United States and opened 12 new stores in Mexico during the quarter. It had 4,467 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico and 261 stores in Mexico at the end of the quarter.

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