Northern, WI  12/5/2012 (BasicsMedia)  –  AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) is down about one percent in pre-market trading to $372 p/s and 2012 has been a decent year for the auto parts and diagnostic seller.  The best part of their year was January and February trading from $320 to near $400 where they achieved most of their gains for 2012 in that 60 day period, the second half of the year was flat and this mornings action took a similar path – flat to lower. This is a big company at $14B MarketCap and because it has a relatively high share price at $375 is mostly institutionally held versus trading in retail hands.  Many have asked for a stock split over the years to include this important shareholder.

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) today reported net sales of $2.0 billion for its first quarter (12 weeks) ended November 17, 2012, an increase of 3.5% from the first quarter of fiscal 2012 (12 weeks). Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 0.2% for the quarter. Net income for the quarter increased $12.3 million, or 6.4%, over the same period last year to $203.5 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 15.7% to $5.41 per share from $4.68 per share in the year-ago quarter.

The company has nearly 5000 stores in the US and most of us have seen them on the average American street corner, or purchased something along the way in our “automobile society” …Americans love their cars, and NYSE:AZO has positioned themselves to be the beneficiary.  During the quarter ended November 17, 2012, AutoZone opened 19 new stores, and closed one store in the U.S., opened 4 new stores in Mexico, and opened the first store in Brazil. As of November 17, 2012, the Company had 4,703 stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the U.S., 325 stores in Mexico, and one store in Brazil for a total count of 5,029.

The CEO said, “ I would like to thank our entire organization for the solid performance delivered this past quarter. We are pleased to report our twenty-fifth consecutive quarter of double digit earnings per share growth. While this past quarter’s sales results were lower than planned, they were not surprising to us. Regional sales discrepancies continued to challenge our results, however we began to see improvements in our more challenged regions late in the quarter. We believe the initiatives we have in place are correct for delivering solid financial results, as we remain excited about our opportunities for the remainder of fiscal 2013. Our financial success will continue to be driven by the tremendous contributions of our more than 70,000 dedicated AutoZoners……”

Competition exists in the sector so also keep an eye on Advanced Auto Parts (NYSE:AA) and ( PepBoys (NYSE:PBY) who have a much smaller MarketCap shareprice and revenue at about $600M.  The Pep Boys—Manny, Moe & Jack, together with its subsidiaries, provides automotive repair and maintenance services, tires, parts, and accessories. Its product lines consist of tires; batteries; new and remanufactured parts for vehicles; chemicals and maintenance items; fashion, electronic, and performance accessories; and non-automotive merchandise, such as generators, power tools, and personal transportation products.

Disclaimer:  We have no position in any stock mentioned here.

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