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AutoZone Earnings Rise

Same-store sales inch higher.
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AutoZone (AZO) beat first-quarter earnings targets as sales in stores open at least a year advanced 0.3%.

The Memphis, Tenn., auto parts retailer made $124 million, or $1.73 a share, for the quarter ended Nov. 18, up from the year-ago $114 million, or $1.48 a share. Sales rose to $1.39 billion from $1.34 billion a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a $1.68-a-share profit on sales of $1.39 billion.

Under its share repurchase program, AutoZone repurchased 816,000 shares of its common stock for $90.8 million during the first quarter, at an average price of $111 per share. The company has approximately $130 million remaining under its current share repurchase authorization.

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AutoZone said its adjusted inventory per store, including supplier owned pay-on-scan inventory, rose to $503,000 from $495,000 last year. Net inventory, defined as merchandise inventories less accounts payable, increased on a per store level to $60,000 from $45,000 last year.