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AutoZone Stock Up; Earnings Beat Amid Huge Used-Car Demand

Car-parts retailer AutoZone reported a profit beat amid widely reported huge demand for used cars.
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Shares of AutoZone  (AZO) - Get Free Report jumped Tuesday after the car-parts retailer reported a fiscal-first quarter profit-and-sales beat. 

For the quarter ended Nov. 20 the Memphis company reported earnings of $25.69 per share on revenue of $3.67 billion. 

Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting earnings of $21.01 per share on revenue of $3.37 billion. 

"Our retail and commercial sales performance were consistently strong all quarter," Chief Executive Bill Rhodes said in a statement. 

"Our commercial business growth continues to be exceptionally strong at 29.4% as the investments we are making are positioning us well in the marketplace," 

"We are optimistic about our growth prospects for the balance of the fiscal year."

Shares of AutoZone at last check moved up 1.6% to $1,910. 

Used-car demand has surged during the pandemic, particularly because supplies of new cars have dried up due to the worldwide semiconductor shortage. 

The company reported gross-profit margin of 52.5%, which narrowed 0.65 percentage point from a year earlier. The thinner margin was driven largely by AutoZone's initiatives to accelerate commercial growth. 

AutoZone bought back 515,000 shares in the quarter at an average price of $1,749 each. At the end of Q1, the company had $1.02 billion remaining under its share-repurchase authorization.

AutoZone's inventory increased 3% year over year, driven by new stores. The company in the quarter opened 15 new stores in the U.S., two stores in Mexico and one in Brazil. 

As of Nov. 20, AutoZone had 6,066 stores in the U.S., 666 in Mexico and 53 in Brazil. The total store count: 6,785.