AutoZone (AZO 570.05, +6.65) has climbed 1.2% in pre-market after beating earnings expectations. Shares of AutoZone have struggled so far in 2017 due to growing concerns about the strength of the auto market, but today's advance has helped the stock narrow its 2017 loss to 27.8%.
The automotive retailer reported above-consensus fourth quarter earnings of $15.18 per share on a 3.3% year-over-year increase in revenue to $3.51 billion, which was just ahead of market expectations. The company's sales totaled $10.90 billion during the fiscal year, which represented a record.
Domestic store sales increased 1.0% year-over-year while gross margin ticked down two basis points to 52.8% due to higher supply chain costs, which were partially offset by higher merchandise margins.
AutoZone's inventory grew 6.9% year-over-year due to new store openings and increased product placement. Inventory per location stood at $644,000, up from $625,000 one year ago, but down from $653,000 in the previous quarter.
The company opened 84 new stores in the U.S. and relocated one store. There were 25 new openings in Mexico and five in Brazil.
AutoZone's accounts payable/inventory ratio declined to 107.4% from 112.8% one year ago.
AutoZone did not issue official guidance, but Chairman, President, and CEO Bill Rhodes said the company expects to continue fine tuning its inventory availability initiatives and plans to open its Florida distribution center by the middle of the fiscal year.