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AutoZone 3rd Quarter Same Store Sales Decline 0.8%; EPS Increases 6.2% to $11.44

MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 23, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) today reported net sales of $2.6 billion for its third quarter (12 weeks) ended May 6, 2017, an increase of 1.0% from the third quarter of fiscal 2016 (12 weeks).  Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, declined 0.8% for the quarter.

Net income for the quarter increased 1.3% over the same period last year to $331.7 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 6.2% to $11.44 per share from $10.77 per share in the year-ago quarter.  As previously reported, the Company adopted a new accounting standard on August 28, 2016, related to stock option exercises.  For the quarter, the adoption of the new standard increased EPS by $0.32.  Excluding this adjustment, EPS would have increased by 3.2%.

For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 52.6% (21 bps deleverage versus the same period last year).  The decrease in gross margin was attributable to higher supply chain costs associated with current year inventory initiatives (-28 bps) and higher inventory shrink results (-20 bps), partially offset by lower acquisition costs.  Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 32.4% (25 bps deleverage versus the same period last year).  Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were higher than last year primarily from fixed cost deleverage due to our comparable stores sales decline, higher self-insurance cost and increasing wage pressures, partially offset by favorability from last year’s discrete legal charge and lower incentive compensation.

Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 396 thousand shares of its common stock for $284 million during the third quarter, at an average price of $716 per share.  At the end of the third quarter, the Company had $1.051 billion remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.

The Company’s inventory increased 7.3% over the same period last year, driven by new stores and increased product placement.  Inventory per location was $653 thousand versus $629 thousand last year and $665 thousand last quarter.  Net inventory, defined as merchandise inventories less accounts payable, on a per location basis, was a negative $47 thousand versus negative $69 thousand last year and negative $36 thousand last quarter.

“I would like to thank all AutoZoners across the organization for their dedication to serving our customers throughout a very challenging spring sales season.  Our sales performance for the first five weeks of our quarter was significantly below our expectations, challenged by the well-publicized timing delays in IRS tax refunds.  The last seven weeks of sales demonstrated improvement, but not enough to make up for our soft start.  While this quarter’s results were below our expectations, our AutoZoners’ ongoing commitment to providing customers with Trustworthy Advice has us well positioned for the summer ahead.  Notwithstanding macro headwinds, including increasing wage pressures, we are confident in our long term positive fundamentals for sales growth, and we remain committed to driving shareholder value,” said Bill Rhodes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

During the quarter ended May 6, 2017, AutoZone opened 35 new stores and relocated two stores in the U.S., opened eight new stores in Mexico, and none in Brazil.  As of May 6, 2017, the Company had 5,381 stores in 50 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, 499 stores in Mexico, 26 IMC branches, and nine stores in Brazil for a total count of 5,915.

AutoZone is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. Each AutoZone store carries an extensive product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products.  Many stores also have a commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and prompt delivery of parts and other products to local, regional and national repair garages, dealers, service stations, and public sector accounts.  IMC branches carry an extensive line of original equipment quality import replacement parts.  AutoZone also sells the ALLDATA brand diagnostic and repair software through www.alldata.com. Additionally, we sell automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products through www.autozone.com, and accessories, performance and replacement parts through www.autoanything.com, and our commercial customers can make purchases through www.autozonepro.com and www.imcparts.netAutoZone does not derive revenue from automotive repair or installation.

AutoZone will host a conference call this morning, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) to discuss its third quarter results.  Investors may listen to the conference call live and review supporting slides on the AutoZone corporate website, www.autozoneinc.com by clicking “Investor Relations,” “Conference Calls.”  The call will also be available by dialing (210) 839-8923.  A replay of the call and slides will be available on AutoZone’s website.  In addition, a replay of the call will be available by dialing (203) 369-1211 through Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

This release includes certain financial information not derived in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”).  These non-GAAP measures include adjustments to reflect return on invested capital, adjusted debt, adjusted debt to EBITDAR, and cash flow before share repurchases.  The Company believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP measures provides information that is useful to investors as it indicates more clearly the Company’s comparative year-to-year operating results, but this information should not be considered a substitute for any measures derived in accordance with GAAP.  Management targets the Company’s capital structure in order to maintain its investment grade credit ratings and manages cash flows available for share repurchase by monitoring cash flows before share repurchases, as shown on the attached tables.  The Company believes this is important information for the management of its debt levels and share repurchases.  We have included a reconciliation of this additional information to the most comparable GAAP measures in the accompanying reconciliation tables.

Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements typically use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “should,” “intend,” “plan,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “positioned,” “strategy” and similar expressions. These are based on assumptions and assessments made by our management in light of experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors that we believe to be appropriate. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including without limitation: product demand; energy prices; weather; competition; credit market conditions; access to available and feasible financing; the impact of recessionary conditions; consumer debt levels; changes in laws or regulations; war and the prospect of war, including terrorist activity; inflation; the ability to hire and retain qualified employees; construction delays; the compromising of the confidentiality, availability, or integrity of information, including cyber security attacks; and raw material costs of our suppliers.  Certain of these risks are discussed in more detail in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Item 1A under Part 1 of the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended August 27, 2016, and these Risk Factors should be read carefully. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results; developments and business decisions may differ from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements, and events described above and in the “Risk Factors” could materially and adversely affect our business. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made. Except as required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Actual results may materially differ from anticipated results.

     
AutoZone's 3rd Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2017    
               
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations        
3rd Quarter, FY2017            
(in thousands, except per share data)            
      GAAP Results    
      12 Weeks Ended   12 Weeks Ended    
      May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016    
               
Net sales   $ 2,619,007     $ 2,593,672      
Cost of sales     1,240,589       1,223,214      
Gross profit     1,378,418       1,370,458      
Operating, SG&A expenses     848,848       834,084      
Operating profit  (EBIT)     529,570       536,374      
Interest expense, net     35,675       34,051      
Income before taxes     493,895       502,323      
Income taxes (1)     162,195       174,808      
Net income   $ 331,700     $ 327,515      
Net income per share: (1)            
  Basic   $ 11.70     $ 10.99      
  Diluted   $ 11.44     $ 10.77      
Weighted average shares outstanding:            
  Basic     28,358       29,809      
  Diluted (1)     29,005       30,405      
               
(1) The Company adopted a new accounting standard on August 28, 2016, that requires excess tax benefits from stock option exercises to be recognized in the income statement. The adoption of the new standard increased EPS by $0.32, driven by a lower effective tax rate of 231 bps, (a $0.40 benefit to EPS), partially offset by a change to the dilutive outstanding shares calculation (a $0.08 reduction to EPS). Prior period's financial information was not restated to conform to the current period’s presentation.
               
               
Year-To-Date 3rd Quarter, FY2017            
(in thousands, except per share data)   GAAP Results    
      36 Weeks Ended   36 Weeks Ended    
      May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016    
               
Net sales   $ 7,376,071     $ 7,236,907      
Cost of sales     3,490,575       3,422,919      
Gross profit     3,885,496       3,813,988      
Operating, SG&A expenses     2,513,054       2,456,959      
Operating profit  (EBIT)     1,372,442       1,357,029      
Interest expense, net     103,180       101,893      
Income before taxes     1,269,262       1,255,136      
Income taxes (2)     422,293       440,897      
Net income   $ 846,969     $ 814,239      
Net income per share: (2)            
  Basic   $ 29.57     $ 27.00      
  Diluted   $ 28.86     $ 26.46      
Weighted average shares outstanding:            
  Basic     28,638       30,159      
  Diluted (2)     29,349       30,773      
               
(2) The Company adopted a new accounting standard on August 28, 2016, that requires excess tax benefits from stock option exercises to be recognized in the income statement. The adoption of the new standard increased EPS by $0.72, driven by a lower effective tax rate of 214 bps, (a $0.93 benefit to EPS), partially offset by a change to the dilutive outstanding shares calculation (a $0.21 reduction to EPS). Prior period's financial information was not restated to conform to the current period’s presentation.
               
               
Selected Balance Sheet Information            
(in thousands)            
      May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016   August 27, 2016
               
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 227,141     $ 213,380     $ 189,734  
Merchandise inventories     3,861,052       3,597,251       3,631,916  
Current assets     4,507,249       4,225,486       4,239,573  
Property and equipment, net     3,904,152       3,619,305       3,733,254  
Total assets     9,028,264       8,464,105       8,599,787  
Accounts payable     4,140,690       3,991,030       4,095,854  
Current liabilities     4,793,540       4,647,589       4,690,320  
Total debt     5,152,843       4,953,697       4,924,119  
Stockholders' deficit     (1,714,214 )     (1,863,282 )     (1,787,538 )
Working capital     (286,291 )     (422,103 )     (450,747 )
                           

 

Adjusted Debt / EBITDAR (Trailing 4 Qtrs)              
(in thousands, except adjusted debt to EBITDAR ratio)                  
    May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016          
Net income   $ 1,273,737     $ 1,215,376            
Add:  Interest     148,968       148,958            
Taxes     653,103       661,967            
EBIT     2,075,808       2,026,301            
                   
Add:  Depreciation and amortization     313,920       290,173            
Rent expense     294,641       274,660            
Share-based expense     40,716       39,759            
EBITDAR   $ 2,725,085     $ 2,630,893            
                   
Debt   $ 5,152,843     $ 4,953,697            
Capital lease obligations     151,961       128,870            
Add: Rent x 6     1,767,846       1,647,960            
Adjusted debt   $ 7,072,650     $ 6,730,527            
                   
Adjusted debt to EBITDAR     2.6       2.6            
                   
                   
Selected Cash Flow Information                  
(in thousands)                  
    12 Weeks Ended   12 Weeks Ended   36 Weeks Ended   36 Weeks Ended  
    May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016   May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016  
                   
Depreciation and amortization   $ 75,343     $ 68,529     $ 219,988   $ 203,465  
Capital spending     141,831       113,331       357,934     299,922  
                   
Cash flow before share repurchases:                  
Increase in cash and cash equivalents   $ 16,492     $ 5,422     $ 37,407   $ 38,071  
Increase in debt, excluding deferred financing     5,100       112,400       230,700     330,900  
Add back share repurchases     283,564       532,668       844,183     1,082,725  
Cash flow before share repurchases and changes in debt   $ 294,956     $ 425,690     $ 650,890   $ 789,896  
                   
                   
Other Selected Financial Information                  
(in thousands, except ROIC)                  
    May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016          
                   
                   
Cumulative share repurchases ($ since fiscal 1998)   $ 17,598,832     $ 16,384,912            
Remaining share repurchase authorization ($)     1,051,168       765,088            
                   
Cumulative share repurchases (shares since fiscal 1998)     141,924       140,312            
                   
Shares outstanding, end of quarter     28,155       29,501            
                   
    Trailing 4 Quarters          
    May 6, 2017   May 7, 2016          
Net income   $ 1,273,737     $ 1,215,376            
Adjustments:                  
Interest expense     148,968       148,958            
Rent expense     294,641       274,660            
Tax effect*     (150,383 )     (149,538 )          
After-tax return     1,566,963       1,489,456            
                   
Average debt**     5,035,993       4,737,645            
Average stockholders' deficit**     (1,817,540 )     (1,745,470 )          
Add: Rent x 6     1,767,846       1,647,960            
Average capital lease obligations**     145,749       127,954            
Pre-tax Invested capital   $ 5,132,048     $ 4,768,089            
                   
Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)     30.5 %     31.2 %          
                   
 * Effective tax rate over trailing four quarters ended May 6, 2017 is 33.9% and May 7, 2016 is 35.3%.
** All averages are computed based on trailing 5 quarter balances.
                   

 

AutoZone's 3rd Quarter Fiscal 2017                      
Selected Operating Highlights                          
                           
Location Count & Square Footage                          
                           
    12 Weeks Ended       12 Weeks Ended     36 Weeks Ended       36 Weeks Ended
    May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016     May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016
AutoZone Domestic stores (Domestic):                          
Store count:                          
Beginning domestic stores     5,346           5,193         5,297           5,141  
Stores opened     35           33         84           85  
Stores closed     -           -         -           -  
Ending domestic stores     5,381           5,226         5,381           5,226  
                           
Relocated stores     2           1         4           4  
                           
Stores with commercial programs     4,493           4,274         4,493           4,274  
                           
Square footage (in thousands)     35,150           34,094         35,150           34,094  
                           
AutoZone Mexico stores:                          
Stores opened     8           7         16           17  
Total stores in Mexico     499           458         499           458  
                           
AutoZone Brazil stores:                          
Stores opened     -           -         1           1  
Total stores in Brazil     9           8         9           8  
                           
Total AutoZone stores     5,889           5,692         5,889           5,692  
                           
Square footage (in thousands)     38,900           37,528         38,900           37,528  
Square footage per store     6,606           6,593         6,606           6,593  
                           
IMC branches:                          
Branches opened     -           1         -           5  
Total IMC branches     26           25         26           25  
                           
Total locations chainwide     5,915           5,717         5,915           5,717  
                           
Sales Statistics                          
($ in thousands, except sales per average square foot)                          
    12 Weeks Ended       12 Weeks Ended     Trailing 4 Quarters       Trailing 4 Quarters
Total AutoZone stores (Domestic, Mexico and Brazil) May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016     May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016
Sales per average store   $ 424         $ 434       $ 1,768         $ 1,785  
Sales per average square foot   $ 64         $ 66       $ 268         $ 271  
                           
Total Auto Parts (Domestic, Mexico, Brazil, and IMC)                         
Total auto parts sales   $ 2,530,689         $ 2,503,108       $ 10,408,512         $ 10,157,577  
% Increase vs. LY     1.1 %         4.1 %       2.5 %         6.0 %
                           
Domestic Commercial (Excludes IMC)                          
Total domestic commercial sales   $ 498,575         $ 481,444       $ 2,025,481         $ 1,920,418  
% Increase vs. LY     3.6 %         6.5 %       5.5 %         9.6 %
                           
All Other (ALLDATA, E-Commerce, and AutoAnything)                        
All other sales   $ 88,318         $ 90,564       $ 366,329         $ 369,734  
% Increase vs. LY     (2.5 %)         2.3 %       (0.9 %)         2.6 %
                           
    12 Weeks Ended       12 Weeks Ended     36 Weeks Ended       36 Weeks Ended
    May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016     May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016
Domestic same store sales      (0.8 %)         2.0 %       0.2 %         3.0 %
                           
Inventory Statistics (Total Locations)                          
    as of       as of              
    May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016              
Accounts payable/inventory     107.2 %         110.9 %              
                           
($ in thousands)                          
Inventory   $ 3,861,052         $ 3,597,251                
Inventory per location     653           629                
Net inventory (net of payables)     (279,638 )         (393,779 )              
Net inventory  / per location     (47 )         (69 )              
                           
    Trailing 5 Quarters              
    May 6, 2017       May 7, 2016              
Inventory turns     1.4   x       1.4   x            
                           


Contact Information:
Financial: Brian Campbell at (901) 495-7005, brian.campbell@autozone.com
Media: Ray Pohlman at (866) 966-3017, ray.pohlman@autozone.com

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