AutoZone (AZO), a retailer of automotive parts, reported first-quarter earnings of $13.47 per share, which surpassed analysts’ expectation of $12.21 per share. The earnings beat was driven by a lower effective tax rate, primarily due to the recent tax reform.
Net sales for the quarter was in line with the market consensus at $2.64 billion, 2% higher than the year-over period. Domestic same-store sales improved 2.7% during the quarter. Analysts had expected a 2% increase.
“Our industry fundamentals remain strong and we continue to be excited about the initiatives we have underway to further enhance our inventory availability, to continue to accelerate commercial and to meet our customers how, when and where they want to be met with our omnichannel initiatives,” CEO Bill Rhodes said.
Gross profit rose to 53.7% from 52.8% in the first quarter of last year, driven by the impact of the sale of two businesses last year as well as higher merchandise margins.
AZO shares were up 1.9% during pre-market trading on Tuesday. The stock has increased by 12% so far this year.
Among rivals, Advanced Auto Parts (AAP) reported its strongest comparable store sales in eight years, for the most recent quarter. There was a proportionate growth in net sales, which pushed up earnings by 20% to $1.56 per share.