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AutoZone 4th Quarter Same Store Sales Increase 21.8%

4th Quarter EPS of $30.93
Annual Sales of $12.6 Billion

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE: AZO) today reported net sales of $4.5 billion for its fourth quarter (16 weeks) ended August 29, 2020, an increase of 14.0% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 (17 weeks). Excluding sales from the additional week included in last year’s quarter, adjusted sales were up 21.2%. Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 21.8% for the quarter. Same store sales are computed on a 16-week basis.

“As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, our primary focus has been and continues to be to protect the health and wellness of our customers and AutoZoners.  I’m very proud of the steps our team has taken in this regard and I’m very appreciative of the phenomenal efforts of our AutoZoners who have continued to provide exceptional service to our customers throughout this entire extraordinary season!  In recognition of their exceptional efforts and to provide them with much needed flexibility, we provided additional paid-time off for all eligible full and part-time hourly AutoZoners at the beginning of the pandemic.  This quarter, we extended the same benefit to our Store Managers and distribution center Advisors, each of whom have been on the front line, supporting their teams and managing through an enormous amount of change.  While we are very pleased with our performance, we know that the safety of our customers and AutoZoners along with our strong performance would not have been possible without the tremendous efforts of all AutoZoners across the organization,” said Bill Rhodes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Net income for the quarter increased $175.2 million, or 31.0% over last year’s quarter to $740.5 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 36.9% to $30.93 per share from $22.59 per share in the year-ago quarter. Operating profit increased 30.4% to $1.0 billion. Excluding the additional week in the fourth quarter of 2019, adjusted net income for the quarter increased 41.2% over the previous year, adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 47.6% and adjusted operating profit increased 40.4%.

For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 53.1% (versus 53.4% for last year’s quarter). The decrease in gross margin was attributable to lower merchandise margins driven primarily by a shift in mix. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 30.7% (versus 33.8% for last year’s quarter), with leverage primarily due to higher sales volumes.

For the fiscal year ended August 29, 2020, sales were $12.6 billion, an increase of 6.5% from the prior year, while domestic same store sales were up 7.4% for the year. Same store sales are computed on a 52-week basis. Gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 53.6% versus 53.7%. The decrease in gross margin was primarily attributable to lower merchandise margins driven primarily by a shift in mix. Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 34.5% versus 35.0%. The reduction in expenses as a percent of sales was primarily due to leverage from higher sales growth, partially offset by $83.9 million of costs incurred in response to COVID-19. For fiscal 2020, net income increased 7.2% to $1.7 billion and diluted earnings per share increased 13.4% to $71.93 from $63.43. Last year’s net income and diluted earnings per share benefitted from an additional week of sales. Return on invested capital net of average excess cash, which ended the year at $1.6 billion, finished at 38.1%.

Due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, AutoZone did not repurchase any shares during the quarter. For the fiscal year, the Company repurchased 826 thousand shares of its common stock for $930.9 million, at an average price of $1,127 per share. At year end, the Company had $796 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.

The Company’s inventory increased 3.6% over last year’s quarter, driven by increased product placement and new stores.   Inventory per store was $683 thousand versus $674 thousand last year and $685 thousand last quarter. Net inventory, defined as merchandise inventories less accounts payable, on a per location basis, was a negative $104 thousand versus negative $85 thousand last year and negative $56 thousand last quarter.

“I would like to congratulate and thank our entire organization for the results delivered this quarter and fiscal year.  We set many modern era records during our fourth quarter including record same store sales of 21.8%, record commercial sales per program per week of $12,200, record adjusted earnings before interest and taxes growth of 40.4% and record quarterly operating cash flow of $1.4 billion.  During the quarter, our same store sales growth was very consistent, generally increasing twenty-one to twenty-seven percent per week.  During the last four weeks of the quarter, following the expiration of the enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the Federal Government, our same store sales increased 16.5%.  As we begin fiscal 2021, there continues to be significant uncertainty but our team has proven that they are nimble and quickly able to adapt to this ever changing environment and provide exceptional service to our customers,” said Rhodes.

During the quarter ended August 29, 2020, AutoZone opened 49 new stores in the U.S., 11 stores in Mexico and five stores in Brazil. At our fiscal year end, the Company had 5,885 stores in the U.S., 621 stores in Mexico and 43 stores in Brazil for a total count of 6,549.

AutoZone is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the Americas. 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. We also have commercial programs in Mexico and Brazil. AutoZone also sells the ALLDATA brand diagnostic and repair software through www.alldata.com and www.alldatadiy.com. Additionally, we sell automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories and non-automotive products through www.autozone.com and our commercial customers can make purchases through www.autozonepro.com. We also provide product information on our Duralast branded products through www.duralastparts.com. AutoZone does not derive revenue from automotive repair or installation.

AutoZone will host a conference call this morning, Tuesday, September 22, 2020, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) to discuss its fourth quarter results. This call is being web cast and can be accessed, along with supporting slides, at AutoZone’s website at www.autozone.com and clicking on Investor Relations.  Investors may also listen to the call by dialing (210) 839-8923 and entering the participant passcode 9697984.   In addition, a telephone replay will be available by dialing (203) 369-1211 through October 22, 11:59 pm (EDT).

This release includes certain financial information not derived in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). These non-GAAP measures include adjusted results to exclude the additional week in the prior year’s fourth quarter and adjustments to reflect return on invested capital, adjusted debt and adjusted debit to EBITDAR including adjustments for deferred tax liabilities. 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 constitute forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements typically use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “should,” “intend,” “plan,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “positioned,” “strategy,” “seek,” “may,” “could,” and similar expressions. These are based on assumptions and assessments made by the Company’s management in light of experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors that the Company believes 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; cash flows; access to available and feasible financing; future stock repurchases; the impact of recessionary conditions; consumer debt levels; changes in laws or regulations; war and the prospect of war, including terrorist activity; the impact of public health issues, such as the COVID-19 pandemic; inflation; the ability to hire, train and retain qualified employees; construction delays; the compromising of confidentiality, availability or integrity of information, including cyber-attacks; historic growth rate sustainability; downgrade of the Company’s credit ratings; damage to the Company’s reputation; challenges in international markets; failure or interruption of the Company’s information technology systems; origin and raw material costs of suppliers; disruption in the Company’s supply chain; impact of tariffs; anticipated impact of new accounting standards; and business interruptions. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are described in more detail in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Item 1A under Part 1 of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019 and in our other SEC filings. These Risk Factors should be read carefully. However, it should be understood that it is not possible to identify or predict all such risks and other factors that could affect these forward-looking statements. 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 including, but not limited to, those described above could materially and adversely affect the Company’s 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.

Contact Information:
Financial: Brian Campbell at (901) 495-7005, brian.campbell@autozone.com
Media: David McKinney at (901) 495-7951, david.mckinney@autozone.com 

 
AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2020
           
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
4th Quarter, FY2020
(in thousands, except per share data)
      GAAP Results
      16 Weeks Ended   17 Weeks Ended
      August 29, 2020(2)   August 31, 2019
           
Net sales   $ 4,545,968     $ 3,988,435  
Cost of sales     2,132,993       1,858,035  
Gross profit     2,412,975       2,130,400  
Operating, SG&A expenses     1,394,930       1,349,625  
Operating profit (EBIT)     1,018,045       780,775  
Interest expense, net     65,638       61,197  
Income before taxes     952,407       719,578  
Income taxes(1)     211,950       154,350  
Net income   $ 740,457     $ 565,228  
Net income per share:        
  Basic   $ 31.67     $ 23.15  
  Diluted   $ 30.93     $ 22.59  
Weighted average shares outstanding:        
  Basic     23,383       24,417  
  Diluted     23,942       25,019  
           
      Adjustments
      August 29, 2020   August 31, 2019(3)
           
Net sales   $ -     $ 238,617  
Cost of sales     -       110,359  
Gross profit     -       128,258  
Operating, SG&A expenses     -       72,492  
Operating profit (EBIT)     -       55,766  
Interest expense, net     -       3,600  
Income before taxes     -       52,166  
Income taxes     -       11,189  
Net income   $ -     $ 40,977  
Net income per share:        
  Basic   $ -     $ 1.68  
  Diluted   $ -     $ 1.64  
           
      Adjusted Results
      16 Weeks Ended   16 Weeks Ended
      4th Quarter 2020(2)   4th Quarter 2019(3)
           
Net sales   $ 4,545,968     $ 3,749,818  
Cost of sales     2,132,993       1,747,676  
Gross profit     2,412,975       2,002,142  
Operating, SG&A expenses     1,394,930       1,277,133  
Operating profit (EBIT)     1,018,045       725,009  
Interest expense, net     65,638       57,597  
Income before taxes     952,407       667,412  
Income taxes(1)     211,950       143,161  
Net income   $ 740,457     $ 524,251  
Net income per share:        
  Basic   $ 31.67     $ 21.47  
  Diluted   $ 30.93     $ 20.95  
           
(1)The Company's effective tax rate was 22.3% for the sixteen weeks ended August 29, 2020 and 21.5% for the seventeen weeks ended August 31, 2019. Fourth quarter Fiscal 2020 and 2019 include $3.3M and $7.7M in tax benefits from stock option exercises, respectively
(2)The sixteen weeks ended August 29, 2020 was negatively impacted by the charges for additional Emergency-Time Off ("ETO") benefit enhancement for eligible part-time and full-time hourly employees and other pandemic related expenses in response to COVID-19 of $10.7M (pre-tax)
(3)The Company adjusted Fourth quarter Fiscal 2019 to exclude the impact of the seventeenth week of operations
           


 
AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2020
           
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
Fiscal Year 2020
(in thousands, except per share data)   GAAP Results
      52 Weeks Ended   53 Weeks Ended
      August 29, 2020(2)   August 31, 2019
           
Net sales   $ 12,631,967     $ 11,863,743  
Cost of sales     5,861,214       5,498,742  
Gross profit     6,770,753       6,365,001  
Operating, SG&A expenses     4,353,074       4,148,864  
Operating profit (EBIT)     2,417,679       2,216,137  
Interest expense, net     201,165       184,804  
Income before taxes     2,216,514       2,031,333  
Income taxes(1)     483,542       414,112  
Net income   $ 1,732,972     $ 1,617,221  
Net income per share:        
  Basic   $ 73.62     $ 64.78  
  Diluted   $ 71.93     $ 63.43  
Weighted average shares outstanding:        
  Basic     23,540       24,966  
  Diluted     24,093       25,498  
           
(1)The Company's effective tax rate was 21.8% for the 52 weeks ended August 29, 2020 and 20.4% for the 53 weeks ended August 31, 2019. Fiscal 2020 and 2019 included $20.9M and $46.0M in excess tax benefits from stock option exercises, respectively
(2)The 52 weeks ended August 29, 2020 was negatively impacted by the charges for additional ETO and other pandemic related expenses in response to COVID-19 of $83.9M (pre-tax), recognized in the third and fourth quarters
           
Selected Balance Sheet Information        
(in thousands)        
      August 29, 2020   August 31, 2019
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 1,750,815     $ 176,300  
Merchandise inventories     4,473,282       4,319,113  
Current assets     6,811,872       5,028,685  
Property and equipment, net     4,509,221       4,398,751  
Operating lease right-of-use assets     2,581,677       -  
Total assets     14,423,872       9,895,913  
Accounts payable     5,156,324       4,864,912  
Current liabilities     6,307,091       5,512,141  
Operating lease liabilities, less current portion     2,477,560       -  
Total debt     5,513,371       5,206,344  
Stockholders' deficit     (877,977 )     (1,713,851 )
Working capital     504,781       (483,456 )
           


 
AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2020
                       
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
                       
Adjusted Debt / EBITDAR                
(in thousands, except adjusted debt to EBITDAR ratio)   Trailing 4 Quarters        
          52 Weeks Ended   53 Weeks Ended        
          August 29, 2020   August 31, 2019        
Net income   $ 1,732,972     $ 1,617,221          
Add: Interest expense     201,165       184,804          
  Income tax expense     483,542       414,112          
Adjusted EBIT     2,417,679       2,216,137          
                 
Add: Depreciation and amortization     397,466       369,957          
  Rent expense(1)     329,783       332,726          
  Share-based expense     44,835       43,255          
Adjusted EBITDAR   $ 3,189,763     $ 2,962,075          
                       
Debt(2)   $ 3,957,186     $ 5,206,344          
Financing lease liabilities     223,353       179,905          
Add: rent x 6(1)     1,978,696       1,996,358          
Adjusted debt   $ 6,159,235     $ 7,382,607          
                       
Adjusted debt to EBITDAR     1.9       2.5          
                       
Adjusted Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)                
(in thousands, except ROIC)                
          Trailing 4 Quarters        
          52 Weeks Ended   53 Weeks Ended        
          August 29, 2020   August 31, 2019        
Net income   $ 1,732,972     $ 1,617,221          
Adjustments:                
Interest expense     201,165       184,804          
Rent expense(1)     329,783       332,726          
Tax effect(3)     (115,747 )     (105,576 )        
Deferred tax liabilities, net of repatriation tax     -       (6,340 )        
Adjusted after-tax return   $ 2,148,173     $ 2,022,835          
                       
Average debt(4)(5)   $ 5,001,194     $ 5,126,286          
Average stockholders' deficit(5)     (1,542,355 )     (1,615,339 )        
Add: Rent x 6(1)     1,978,696       1,996,358          
Average financing lease liabilities(5)     203,998       162,591          
Invested capital   $ 5,641,533     $ 5,669,896          
                       
Adjusted After-Tax ROIC     38.1 %     35.7 %        
                       
(1)Effective September 1, 2019, the Company adopted ASC 842, the lease accounting standard that required the Company to recognize operating lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet. The table below outlines the calculation of rent expense and reconciles rent expense to total lease cost, per ASC 842, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, for the 52 weeks ended, August 29, 2020
                       
    Total lease cost, per ASC 842, for the 52 weeks ended August 29, 2020   $ 415,505          
    Less: Financing lease interest and amortization         (60,275 )        
    Less: Variable operating lease components, related to insurance and common area maintenance for the 52 weeks ended August 29, 2020             (25,447 )        
    Rent expense for the 52 weeks ended August 29, 2020       $ 329,783          
                       
(2)The Company ended FY20 with excess cash of $1.6B. Debt is presented net of excess cash
(3)Effective tax rate for the 52 weeks ended August 29, 2020 is 21.8% and for the 53 weeks ended August 31, 2019 is 20.4%
(4)Average debt is presented net of average excess cash of $374.2M 
(5)All averages are computed based on trailing 5 quarter balances
                       
Other Selected Financial Information
(in thousands)                
          August 29, 2020   August 31, 2019        
                       
                       
Cumulative share repurchases ($ since fiscal 1998)   $ 22,354,110     $ 21,423,207          
Remaining share repurchase authorization ($)     795,890       476,793          
                       
Cumulative share repurchases (shares since fiscal 1998)     147,696       146,870          
                       
Shares outstanding, end of quarter     23,376       24,038          
                       
                       
          16 Weeks Ended   17 Weeks Ended   52 Weeks Ended   53 Weeks Ended
          August 29, 2020   August 31, 2019   August 29, 2020   August 31, 2019
                       
Depreciation and amortization   $ 125,351     $ 118,839     $ 397,466     $ 369,957  
                       
Capital spending     183,848       182,203       457,736       496,050  
                       


 
AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2020
Selected Operating Highlights
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
                           
Store Count & Square Footage                        
                           
      16 Weeks Ended     17 Weeks Ended     52 Weeks Ended     53 Weeks Ended  
      August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019     August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019  
Domestic:                        
  Beginning stores     5,836         5,686         5,772         5,618    
  Stores opened     49         86         113         154    
  Ending domestic stores     5,885         5,772         5,885         5,772    
                           
  Relocated stores     4         -         5         2    
                           
  Stores with commercial programs     5,007         4,893         5,007         4,893    
                           
  Square footage (in thousands)     38,559         37,769         38,559         37,769    
                           
Mexico:
                       
  Beginning stores     610         576         604         564    
  Stores opened     11         28         17         40    
  Ending Mexico stores     621         604         621         604    
                           
Brazil:
                       
  Beginning stores     38         25         35         20    
  Stores opened     5         10         8         15    
  Ending Brazil stores     43         35         43         35    
                           
Total
    6,549         6,411         6,549         6,411    
                           
  Square footage (in thousands)     43,502         42,526         43,502         42,526    
  Square footage per store     6,643         6,633         6,643         6,633    
                           
Sales Statistics                        
($ in thousands, except sales per average square foot)                        
      16 Weeks Ended     17 Weeks Ended     52 Weeks Ended     53 Weeks Ended  
Total AutoZone Stores (Domestic, Mexico and Brazil) August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019(1)     August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019(1)  
  Sales per average store   $ 686       $ 617       $ 1,914       $ 1,847    
  Sales per average square foot   $ 103       $ 93       $ 288       $ 279    
                           
Total Auto Parts (Domestic, Mexico and Brazil)                        
  Total auto parts sales   $ 4,473,098       $ 3,917,062       $ 12,405,929       $ 11,645,235    
  % Increase vs. LY     14.2 %       11.9 %       6.5 %       6.3 %  
                           
Domestic Commercial                        
  Total domestic commercial sales   $ 975,573       $ 886,516       $ 2,727,767       $ 2,562,830    
  % Increase vs. LY     10.0 %       21.1 %       6.4 %       15.7 %  
                           
  Average sales per program per week   $ 12.2       $ 10.7       $ 10.6       $ 10.0    
  % Increase vs. LY     14.2 %       10.5 %       5.6 %       10.0 %  
                           
All Other, including ALLDATA                        
  All other sales   $ 72,870       $ 71,373       $ 226,038       $ 218,508    
  % Increase vs. LY     2.1 %       20.0 %       3.4 %       (18.9 %)  
                           
(1)Fiscal 2019 results include an additional week of sales of $234.5M for Total Auto Parts, $51.3M for Domestic Commercial and $4.1M for All Other. Sales per average store and sales per average square foot benefited from the additional week by $37K and $6K, respectively
                                           
                                           
                                           
                           
      16 Weeks Ended     16 Weeks Ended     52 Weeks Ended     52 Weeks Ended  
      August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019     August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019  
Domestic same store sales     21.8 %       3.0 % (2)     7.4 %       3.0 % (2)
                           
(2)August 31, 2019 Domestic same store sales have been reported on a comparable basis to exclude the impact of the additional week
                                           
                           
Inventory Statistics (Total Stores)                        
      as of     as of              
      August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019              
  Accounts payable/inventory     115.3 %       112.6 %              
                           
  ($ in thousands)                        
  Inventory   $ 4,473,282       $ 4,319,113                
  Inventory per store     683         674                
  Net inventory (net of payables)     (683,042 )       (545,799 )              
  Net inventory / per store     (104 )       (85 )              
                           
      Trailing 5 Quarters              
      August 29, 2020     August 31, 2019              
  Inventory turns     1.3   x     1.3   x            
                           

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