AutoZone has reported net sales of $5.3 billion for its fourth quarter (16 weeks) ended Aug. 27, 2022, an increase of 8.9% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 (16 weeks). Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 6.2% for the quarter.
“Our results are a testament to our AutoZoners’ ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional customer service every day. Our retail business performed well this quarter ending with positive same store sales on top of last year’s strong performance. And, our commercial business growth continued to be exceptionally strong at 22%. The investments we have made in both inventory availability and technology are enhancing our competitive positioning. We are optimistic about our growth prospects heading into our new fiscal year,” said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO.
For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 51.5%, a decrease of 73 basis points versus the prior year. The decrease in gross margin was driven by accelerated growth in AutoZone’s Commercial business and a 28-basis-point non-cash LIFO charge driven largely by rising freight costs. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 30.9% versus 31.0% last year.
Operating profit increased 5.7% to $1.1 billion. Net income for the quarter increased 3.1% over the same period last year to $810 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 13.4% to $40.51 from $35.72 in the year-ago quarter.
For the fiscal year ended Aug. 27, 2022, sales were $16.3 billion, an increase of 11.1% from the prior year, while domestic same store sales were up 8.4%. Gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 52.1% versus 52.8%. The decrease in gross margin was primarily attributable to the initiatives to accelerate growth in our Commercial business. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 32.0% versus 32.6%. For fiscal 2022, net income increased 11.9% to $2.4 billion and diluted earnings per share increased 23.1% to $117.19 from $95.19. Return on invested capital finished at 52.9%.
Share Repurchase Program
Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 474,000 shares of its common stock for $1 billion during the fourth quarter, at an average price of $2,111 per share. For the fiscal year, the company repurchased 2.2 million shares of its common stock for $4.4 billion, at an average price of $1,964 per share. At year end, the company had $1.058 billion remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.
Additionally, AutoZone announced today that Doug Brooks is not standing for re-election to the company’s board of directors at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held Dec. 14, 2022. “AutoZone has truly benefited from Doug’s insightful guidance, tutelage, and service these past nine years. Doug’s efforts have contributed to helping make our company what it is today. I thank him for his leadership and commitment to our company, and I wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Rhodes.
During the fiscal year ended August 27, 2022, AutoZone opened 118 new stores and closed one in the U.S., opened 39 stores in Mexico and 20 stores in Brazil. As of August 27, 2022, the Company had 6,168 stores in the U.S., 703 in Mexico and 72 in Brazil for a total store count of 6,943.