An emphasis on marketing has been a big benefit for Kellogg -- the firm has consistently spent more than many peers on advertising, particularly on advertising new products. That's helped to keep consumers throwing dollars at Kellogg's offerings in grocery stores around the world. Today, international sales only account for around a third of the firm's total sales, a mix that leaves considerable room for overseas expansion. The addition of internationally popular brands like Pringles to the firm's operations should help achieve that.
Car parts retailer
has been enjoying a multi-year rally fueled by an aging national car fleet, economic uncertainty, and the largest store network in the industry. At last count, AZO sported more than 4,700 U.S. stores as well as 320 locations in Mexico and one location in Brazil. The decision to focus international growth efforts on Latin America makes sense, particularly because the region's aging car fleet gives it more upside than the newer automobile trends in other emerging economies.
For AutoZone, it's not all about retail -- the firm also runs a lucrative commercial business, which provides parts to repair shops and service stations. While the margins aren't as deep for the commercial part supply business, the volumes are, and they enable AZO to take advantage of repair trends that extend beyond the do-it-yourselfers who stroll into one of the firm's stores. After all, the average car on the road in the U.S. today is older than it's ever been, and as a result, those cars are costing more to keep on the road.
New cars also cost more -- and buyers are looking to spread the costs of such large purchases over longer time horizons than ever before. That means that even as new car sales continue to power on, AZO shouldn't expect to see its core market dry up. Analyst sentiment has been surging lately in shares of this stock, so we're betting on shares this week.
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-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.