* Same-store sales up just 1 pct in fourth quarter
* Quarterly profit $10.42/share vs est $10.34
By Bijoy Anandoth Koyitty
Sept 25 Auto parts retailer AutoZone Inc's
quarterly same-store sales missed estimates as a
recovering U.S. economy encouraged more consumers to buy new
vehicles instead of repairing existing ones.
The company's same-store sales, or sales at stores open at
least a year, rose just 1 percent in the fourth quarter.
U.S. auto sales showed strong growth in each of the past
three months, growing 17 percent in August, their fastest pace
in nearly six years.
"The fourth quarter results from AutoZone continued to
reflect a choppy environment for auto parts retail, with
top-line trends decelerating 70 basis points on a two-year
basis," Morgan Stanley analyst David Gober said in a note.
AutoZone had said in February that it was expecting demand
to rebound in the second half of the year to Aug. 31.
Warmer-than-usual winter last year had caused less wear and tear
to vehicles, lowering demand for auto parts.
Initiatives such as new store launches are expected to
improve sales in 2014, the company said on Wednesday.
AutoZone reported a higher-than-expected profit for the
fourth quarter due to a lower tax rate.
Net income rose to $371.2 million, or $10.42 per share, in
the quarter from $323.7 million, or $8.46 per share, a year
Revenue increased 12 percent to $3.1 billion.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $10.34 per
share on revenue of $3.09 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
AutoZone shares were up 0.5 percent at $416.42 on the New
York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.