Hits Keep Coming at CarMax - TheStreet

CarMax

(KMX) - Get Report

said Friday that a lively used-car market boosted its fourth-quarter sales to the high end of its guidance, and that its earnings would likely come in higher than expected.

After pushing its sales guidance up last week on unexpected strength from its subprime lending program at the tail end of the quarter, the used-car chain said its same-store sales, or sales at lots open at least a year, gained 12%, hitting the high end of its new estimate. Total sales rose 25% for the quarter to $1.4 billion from $1.12 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Based on the results, the company expects to report earnings of 28 cents a share for the quarter, beating its estimated range of 26 cents a share to 27 cents a share. Last year, it earned 21 cents a share.

Analysts on Wall Street were expecting CarMax to earn 27 cents a share on average, according to consensus estimates reported by Thomson First Call.

"In the fourth quarter, we experienced the strongest sales growth of the fiscal year," said Austin Ligon, the company's president and chief executive, in a statement. "Stronger sales occurred both in our more established stores and in our newer superstores, as well as in all our geographic regions. All regions benefited from the seasonal increase in subprime-financed sales that we discussed in our February 22 news release, and all regions also benefited from additional strength in used car sales overall."

CarMax will report fourth-quarter earnings on March 30.