AutoZone has reported net sales of $2.6 billion for its first quarter (12 weeks) ended Nov. 17, an increase of 2 percent from the first quarter of fiscal 2018 (12 weeks).
Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 2.7 percent for the quarter.
“The second quarter is always our most challenging quarter,” said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and CEO, during an analyst call today. However, he noted that early winter weather patterns in parts of the country during the last week of the quarter accelerated sales for AutoZone.
Rhodes noted that commercial sales growth eclipsed double-digits in the quarter, increasing 11.3 percent, marking AutoZone’s strongest growth quarter since 2015
Net income for the quarter increased 25.1 percent over the same period last year to $351.4 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 34.7 percent to $13.47 per share from $10 per share in the year-ago quarter. Net income and diluted earnings per share benefitted from a lower effective income tax rate, primarily due to tax reform.
“I want to thank all AutoZoners across the company for their tremendous efforts during our first fiscal quarter. Their dedication and commitment to superior service resulted in a strong start to our new year. As we entered the quarter, we knew we had difficult comparisons to last year’s first quarter due to the prior year’s sales benefit from three major hurricanes. Our team delivered very solid performance in DIY and our Commercial growth accelerated again reaching our highest growth since 2015,” said Rhodes.
“Our industry fundamentals remain strong and we continue to be excited about the initiatives we have underway to further enhance our inventory availability, to continue to accelerate commercial and to meet our customers how, when and where they want to be met with our omni-channel initiatives. As we continue to invest in our business, we remain committed to our disciplined approach of increasing operating earnings and cash flow, and utilizing our balance sheet and capital effectively,” Rhodes added.
Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 654,000 shares of its common stock for $497.1 million during the first quarter, at an average price of $760 per share. At the end of the first quarter, the company had $985 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.