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AutoZone motors ahead with inventory investment


The nation’s leading automotive retailer credited investments in inventory and favorable weather with helping it achieve its 33rd consecutive quarter of double digit earnings growth.

The company said sales for its first quarter ended Nov. 22 increased 8 percent to $2.3 billion while same store sales increased 4.5 percent. Profits for the period increased 9.3 percent to $238.3 million while earnings per share advanced 15.6 percent to $7.27 and were aided by the company’s repurchase of 571,000 shares.

“Our sales growth improved significantly this quarter which we believe was a result of our continued efforts to improve the business, most notably inventory availability, combined with lower gas prices and favorable weather in the last two weeks of our quarter,” said Bill Rhodes, AutoZone’s chairman, president and CEO.

The company said inventory grew 11.3 percent and average inventory per store increased to $604,000 from $582,000 last year and $566,000 during the same quarter the prior year.

“We continue to diligently work on our inventory availability initiatives and have been quite pleased with our results to date,” Rhodes said. “The expanded assortments we have deployed over the last year are working and are contributing to our success. Our other inventory initiatives remain in test phase but are being expanded based on favorable results to date.”

AutoZone said it opened 22 new stores during the quarter and ended the period with 5,006 U.S. locations, 406 stores in Mexico and five locations in Brazil.

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