AutoZone 4th Quarter Same Store Sales Increase 3.0%; 4th Quarter EPS of $22.59; Annual Sales of $11.9 Billion

Sep 24, 2019

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE: AZO) today reported net sales of $4.0 billion for its fourth quarter (17 weeks) ended August 31, 2019, an increase of 12.1% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 (16 weeks). Excluding sales from the additional week included in this year’s quarter, adjusted sales were up 5.4%. Domestic same store sales, or sales for stores open at least one year, increased 3.0% for the quarter. Same store sales are computed on a 16-week basis.

Net income for the quarter increased $164.9 million, or 41.2% over the same period last year to $565.2 million, while diluted earnings per share increased 50.4% to $22.59 per share from $15.02 per share in the year-ago quarter. Operating profit increased 32.1% to $780.8 million. Excluding the additional week in the fourth quarter of 2019 and the pension plan termination costs which occurred in the fourth quarter of 2018, adjusted net income for the quarter increased 6.1% over the previous year’s quarter to $524.3 million, while adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 13.0% to $20.95 per share. Adjusted operating profit increased 0.5% to $725.0 million.

For the quarter, gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 53.4% (versus 53.6% the same period last year). 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 33.8% (versus 37.0% the same period last year), with leverage primarily due to last year’s pension plan termination charge of $130.3 million (366 bps) and the additional week of sales, partially offset by increased domestic store payroll (58 bps).

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, sales were $11.9 billion, an increase of 5.7% from the prior year, while domestic same store sales were up 3.0% for the year. Same store sales are computed on a 52-week basis. Gross profit, as a percentage of sales, was 53.7% (versus 53.2% the same period last year). The increase in gross margin was primarily attributable to the impact of the sale of two businesses completed in the prior year (37 basis points). Operating expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 35.0% (versus 37.1% the same period last year) primarily due to last year’s impairment charges of $193.2 million related to the sale of two businesses and pension plan termination charges of $130.3 million, partially offset by increased domestic store payroll (66 bps) in 2019. For fiscal 2019, net income increased 20.9% to $1.6 billion and diluted earnings per share for the year increased 30.1% to $63.43 from $48.77. Net income and diluted earnings per share benefitted from an additional week of sales in the current year and the prior year’s impairment and pension termination charges. Return on invested capital finished the year at 35.7%, while full year cash flow before share repurchases and changes in debt was $1.759 billion.

Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 634 thousand shares of its common stock for $692 million during the fourth quarter, at an average price of $1,091 per share. For the fiscal year, the Company repurchased 2.2 million shares of its common stock for $2.005 billion, at an average price of $919 per share. At year end, the Company had $476.8 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization. 

The Company’s inventory increased 9.5% over the same period last year, driven by increased product placement and new stores. Inventory per store was $674 thousand versus $636 thousand last year and $688 thousand last quarter. Net inventory, defined as merchandise inventories less accounts payable, on a per location basis, was a negative $85 thousand versus negative $75 thousand last year and negative $58 thousand last quarter.

“I would like to congratulate and thank our entire organization for the solid performance they delivered in our fourth quarter and fiscal year. Our customer service and trustworthy advice are what continue to differentiate us across our industry, and our AutoZoners’ passion to deliver superior service has allowed us to consistently deliver strong financial results. For the year, we delivered several impressive accomplishments which include a record $11.9 billion in total sales, three percent same store sales growth, domestic Commercial sales grew by 13.4% (on a 52-week basis), the opening of 209 stores globally and 152 additional domestic Commercial programs, and repurchasing a record $2 billion of our common stock. I am especially proud to say our organization delivered on the major initiatives we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year: we invested in incremental wages for our most tenured hourly store AutoZoners’ and we accelerated our investment in information technology with specific emphasis on expanding our Omnichannel initiatives, which contributed to us gaining market share across our industry. We also improved our return on invested capital from the prior year of 32.1% to 35.7%. As we start a new fiscal year, we promise to remain committed to delivering exceptional customer service while growing our Retail, Commercial, and International businesses. We will maintain our disciplined approach to growing operating earnings and utilizing our capital effectively,” said Bill Rhodes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

During the quarter ended August 31, 2019, AutoZone opened 86 new stores in the U.S., 28 stores in Mexico and 10 stores in Brazil. As of August 31, 2019, the Company had 5,772 stores in 50 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Saint Thomas, 604 stores in Mexico and 35 stores in Brazil for a total count of 6,411.

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. AutoZone also sells the ALLDATA brand diagnostic and repair software through Additionally, we sell automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories and non-automotive products through and our commercial customers can make purchases through AutoZone does not derive revenue from automotive repair or installation.

AutoZone will host a conference call this morning, Tuesday, September 24, 2019, beginning at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) to discuss its fourth quarter results. Investors may listen to the conference call live and review supporting slides on the AutoZone corporate website, by clicking “Investor Relations,” located at the bottom of the page. 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, October 8, 2019, 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 adjusted results for adjustments to exclude the additional week in the current year’s fourth quarter, pension termination charges in the fourth quarter of 2018, 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 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 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; 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; 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 our credit ratings; damages to our reputation; challenges in international markets; failure or interruption of our information technology systems; origin and raw material costs of suppliers; impact of tariffs; anticipated impact of new accounting standards; and business interruptions. Certain of these risks are discussed in more detail in the “Risk Factors” section contained in Item 1A under Part 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended August 25, 2018, 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.

Contact Information:
Financial: Brian Campbell at (901) 495-7005,
Media: David McKinney at (901) 495-7951, 

AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2019
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations  
4th Quarter 2019    
(in thousands, except per share data)    
   GAAP Results
   17 Weeks Ended 16 Weeks Ended
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018
Net sales $3,988,435 $3,558,769 
Cost of sales  1,858,035  1,650,890 
Gross profit  2,130,400  1,907,879 
Operating, SG&A expenses  1,349,625  1,316,640 
Operating profit (EBIT)  780,775  591,239 
Interest expense, net  61,197  54,340 
Income before taxes  719,578  536,899 
Income taxes (1)  154,350  136,617 
Net income $565,228 $400,282 
Earnings per share:    
 Basic $23.15 $15.27 
 Diluted $22.59 $15.02 
Weighted average shares outstanding:    
 Basic  24,417  26,212 
 Diluted  25,019  26,649 
   August 31, 2019 (2) August 25, 2018 (3)
Net sales $238,617 $- 
Cost of sales  110,359  - 
Gross profit  128,258  - 
Operating, SG&A expenses  72,492  (130,263)
Operating profit (EBIT)  55,766  130,263 
Interest expense, net  3,600  - 
Income before taxes  52,166  130,263 
Income taxes (1)  11,189  36,578 
Net income $40,977 $93,685 
Earnings per share:    
 Basic $1.68 $3.57 
 Diluted $1.64 $3.52 
Weighted average shares outstanding:    
 Basic  24,417  26,212 
 Diluted  25,019  26,649 
   Adjusted Results
   16 Weeks Ended
 16 Weeks Ended
   4th Quarter 2019 (2)
 4th Quarter 2018 (3)
Net sales $3,749,818 $3,558,769 
Cost of sales  1,747,676  1,650,890 
Gross profit  2,002,142  1,907,879 
Operating, SG&A expenses  1,277,133  1,186,377 
Operating profit (EBIT)  725,009  721,502 
Interest expense, net  57,597  54,340 
Income before taxes  667,412  667,162 
Income taxes (1)  143,161  173,195 
Net income $524,251 $493,967 
Earnings per share:       
 Basic $21.47 $18.85 
 Diluted $20.95 $18.54 
Weighted average shares outstanding:       
 Basic  24,417  26,212 
 Diluted  25,019  26,649 
(1)The Company's effective tax rate was 21.5% for the 17 weeks ended August 31, 2019 and 25.4% for the 16 weeks ended August 25, 2018.
     Fourth quarter Fiscal 2019 and 2018 include $7.7M and $4.1M in tax benefits from stock options, respectively
(2)The Company adjusted Q4 Fiscal 2019 to exclude the impact of the 17th week of operations
(3)The Company adjusted Q4 Fiscal 2018 to exclude the pension termination charges of $93.7M, net of tax benefit of $36.6M

AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2019
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations  
Fiscal Year 2019    
(in thousands, except per share data) GAAP Results
   53 Weeks Ended 52 Weeks Ended
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018
Net sales $11,863,743  $11,221,077 
Cost of sales  5,498,742   5,247,331 
Gross profit  6,365,001   5,973,746 
Operating, SG&A expenses  4,148,864   4,162,890 
Operating profit (EBIT)  2,216,137   1,810,856 
Interest expense, net  184,804   174,527 
Income before taxes  2,031,333   1,636,329 
Income taxes (4)  414,112   298,793 
Net income $1,617,221  $1,337,536 
Earnings per share:    
 Basic $64.78  $49.59 
 Diluted $63.43  $48.77 
Weighted average shares outstanding:    
 Basic  24,966   26,970 
 Diluted  25,498   27,424 
(4)The Company's effective tax rate was 20.4% for the 53 Weeks Ended August 31, 2019 and 18.3% for the 52 Weeks Ended August 25, 2018.
     Fiscal 2019 and 2018 include $46.0M and $31.3M in tax benefits from stock options exercised, respectively
Selected Balance Sheet Information    
(in thousands)    
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018
Cash and cash equivalents $176,300  $217,824 
Merchandise inventories  4,319,113   3,943,670 
Current assets  5,028,685   4,635,869 
Property and equipment, net  4,398,751   4,218,400 
Total assets  9,895,913   9,346,980 
Accounts payable  4,864,912   4,409,372 
Current liabilities  5,512,141   5,028,681 
Total debt  5,206,344   5,005,930 
Stockholders' (deficit)  (1,713,851)  (1,520,355)
Working capital  (483,456)  (392,812)

AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2019    
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations       

Adjusted Debt / EBITDAR (Trailing 4 Qtrs) 
(in thousands, except adjusted debt to EBITDAR ratio) 
   53 Weeks Ended 52 Weeks Ended    
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018    
 Net income $1,617,221  $1,337,536     
Add: Impairment before tax impact  -   193,162     
 Pension termination before tax impact  -   130,263     
 Interest  184,804   174,527     
 Taxes  414,112   298,793     
 Adjusted EBIT  2,216,137   2,134,281     
Add: Depreciation and amortization  369,957   345,084     
 Rent expense  332,726   315,580     
 Share-based expense  43,255   43,674     
 EBITDAR $2,962,075  $2,838,619     
 Debt $5,206,344  $5,005,930     
 Capital lease obligations  179,905   154,303     
 Add: rent x 6  1,996,358   1,893,480     
 Adjusted debt $7,382,607  $7,053,713     
 Adjusted debt to EBITDAR  2.5   2.5     
 Selected Cash Flow Information        
 (in thousands)        
   17 Weeks Ended 16 Weeks Ended 53 Weeks Ended 52 Weeks Ended
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018 August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018
Depreciation and amortization $118,839   $107,993   $369,957   $345,084 
Capital spending $182,203  $194,640  $496,050  $521,788 
Cash flow before share repurchases:        
Increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents $2,242  $(562) $(41,524) $(75,446)
Less increase/(decrease) in debt  53,201   49,800   204,700   (79,800)
Add back share repurchases  691,780   664,858   2,004,896   1,592,013 
Cash flow before share repurchases and changes in debt $640,821  $614,496  $1,758,672  $1,596,367 
Other Selected Financial Information        
(in thousands, except ROIC)        
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018    
Cumulative share repurchases ($ since fiscal 1998) $21,423,207  $19,418,311     
Remaining share authorization ($)  476,793   231,689     
Cumulative share repurchases (shares since fiscal 1998)  146,870   144,688     
Shares outstanding, end of quarter  24,038   25,742     
   Trailing 4 Quarters    
   53 Weeks Ended 52 Weeks Ended    
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018    
Net income $1,617,221  $1,337,536     
Impairment before tax impact  -   193,162     
Pension termination before tax impact  -   130,263     
Interest expense  184,804   174,527     
Rent expense  332,726   315,580     
Tax effect*  (105,576)  (211,806)    
Deferred tax liabilities, net of repatriation tax  (6,340)  (132,113)    
After-tax return $2,022,835  $1,807,149     
Average debt**  5,126,286   5,013,678     
Average stockholders' deficit**  (1,615,339)  (1,433,196)    
Add: Rent x 6  1,996,358   1,893,480     
Average capital lease obligations**  162,591   156,198     
Pre-tax invested capital $5,669,896  $5,630,160     
Return on Invested Capital (ROIC)  35.7%  32.1%    
*Effective tax rate over trailing four quarters for the 53 weeks ended August 31, 2019 is 20.4%. Effective tax rate over trailing four quarters for the 52 weeks ended August 25, 2018 is 24.2% for impairment, 28.1% for pension termination and 26.2% for interest and rent expense
All averages are computed based on trailing 5 quarter balances 

AutoZone's 4th Quarter Highlights - Fiscal 2019     
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations        
Store Count & Square Footage         
   17 Weeks Ended 16 Weeks Ended
 53 Weeks Ended  52 Weeks Ended
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018
 August 31, 2019  August 25, 2018 
Domestic stores (Domestic):                
 Store count:                   
 Beginning stores  5,686    5,540   5,618    5,465  
 Stores opened  86    78   154    155  
 Stores closed  -    -   -    2  
 Ending stores  5,772    5,618   5,772    5,618  
 Relocated stores  -    4   2    7  
 Stores with commercial programs  4,893    4,741   4,893    4,741  
 Square footage (in thousands):  37,769    36,746   37,769    36,746  
Mexico stores:           
 Stores opened  28    28   40    40  
 Total stores in Mexico 604    564   604    564  
Brazil stores:           
 Stores opened  10    4   15    6  
 Total stores in Brazil 35    20   35    20  
Total stores   6,411    6,202   6,411    6,202  
 Square footage (in thousands):  42,526    41,066   42,526    41,066  
 Square footage per store  6,633    6,621   6,633    6,621  
Sales Statistics            
($ in thousands, except sales per average square foot)         
   17 Weeks Ended 16 Weeks Ended53 Weeks Ended  52 Weeks Ended
Total AutoZone Stores (Domestic, Mexico and Brazil)  August 31, 2019 (1) August 25, 2018
 August 31, 2019 (1)  August 25, 2018 
 Sales per average store$617   $569  $1,847   $1,778  
 Sales per average square foot $93   $86  $279   $269  
Total Auto Parts (Domestic, Mexico, Brazil and IMC)         
 Total auto parts sales$3,917,062   $3,499,313  $11,645,235   $10,951,498 (2) 
    % Increase vs. LY 11.9%   3.0%  6.3%   4.1% 
Domestic Commercial           
 Total domestic commercial sales $886,516   $731,834  $2,562,830   $2,214,208  
    % Increase vs. LY 21.1%   8.8%  15.7%   7.3% 
All Other (ALLDATA and AutoAnything)         
 All other sales $71,373   $59,456  $218,508   $269,579 (3) 
    % Increase vs. LY 20.0%   (48.4%)  (18.9%)   (26.2%) 
(1) Fiscal 2019 results include an additional week of sales of approximately $51.3M for Domestic Commercial, $234.5M for Total Auto Parts 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 
(2) Results include IMC, which was sold during the third quarter of fiscal 2018 (effective April 4, 2018)
(3) Results include AutoAnything, which was sold during the third quarter of fiscal 2018 (effective February 26, 2018)
   16 Weeks Ended 16 Weeks Ended
 52 Weeks Ended  52 Weeks Ended
   August 31, 2019 August 25, 2018
 August 31, 2019  August 25, 2018 
Domestic same store sales  3.0%(4)  2.2%  3.0%(4)  1.8% 
(4) 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 31, 2019
  August 25, 2018
 Accounts payable/inventory  112.6%   111.8%      
 (in thousands)           
 Inventory $4,319,113   $3,943,670       
 Inventory per store  674    636       
 Net inventory (net of payables)  (545,799)   (465,702)      
 Net inventory / per store (85)   (75)      
   Trailing 5 Quarters
   August 31, 2019  August 25, 2018      
 Inventory turns  1.3 x   1.3 x      

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Source: AutoZone, Inc.