These forward-looking statements are based on estimates, projections, beliefs and assumptions and are not guarantees of future events and results. Such statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including but not limited to, competition, product demand, the market for auto parts, the economy in general, inflation, consumer debt levels, governmental regulations, the company's increased debt levels, credit ratings and the company's public debt, the company's ability to hire and retain qualified employees, risks associated with the performance of acquired businesses such as CSK, weather, terrorist activities, war and the threat of war.Actual results may materially differ from anticipated results described or implied in these forward-looking statements. Please refer to the Risk Factors section of the annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, for additional factors that could materially affect the company's financial performance. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. At this time, I'd like to introduce Greg Henslee. Gregory L. Henslee Thanks, Tom. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the O'Reilly Auto Parts fourth quarter conference call. Participating on the call with me this morning is of course Tom McFall, our Chief Financial Officer; and Ted Wise, our Chief Operating Officer. David O'Reilly, our Executive Chairman is also present. It's my pleasure to once again congratulate Team O'Reilly on the solid quarterly performance and the outstanding results in 2011. The 4.6% same store sales increase we achieved for the year on top of the 8.8% increase we generated in 2010 was a significant accomplishment and we should all be very proud of our performance. The main focus at our annual store managers conference in Nashville, a couple of weeks ago, was several initiatives correctly underway that would put us in a position to take the great customer service, our stores currently provide, to the next level. These initiatives are progressing nicely. However, more important than any of the tools we use is our commitment to ensuring customer service is our top priority.
No matter what role we play in the company from receiving, stocking, picking and shipping products at our distribution centers, to providing expert advice to our walk-in customers to prompt accurate parts deliveries to our professional customers, we all play a critical role in making sure the level of service we're able to provide our customers exceeds that of our competitors. And all of Team O'Reilly is to be congratulated on the excellent job you did delivering industry-leading customer service in 2011.Now onto some details about our company's performance in the fourth quarter. As we discussed on our third quarter conference call, we forecasted fourth quarter comparable store sales in the range of 3% to 5%. We generated comp store sales in the lower end of our range at 3.3% for the quarter. As many of you that have followed our company and industry over the years know, the fourth quarter is always the toughest quarter to forecast comparable store sales. A couple of factors play into the volatility of comps in the fourth quarter. The first is weather. It plays a key role in driving seasonal demand. As we said before, extreme temperatures, hot or cold, generally generate better demand in our business than mild conditions. This winter, most of our markets have had unusually mild weather up to this point. The other factor is simply economic conditions. As financially stressed consumers took on the extra burden of discretionary holiday spending, we speculate that many deferred expenditures that could be deferred, including vehicle maintenance to some degree. That said, with the comparison against the 9.2% comps we had in the fourth quarter of 2010, we're reasonably pleased with our results. As has been the case for sometime now, our comparable store sales growth is being driven primarily by the professional side of our business. Both in the CSK converted stores and the historical O'Reilly markets, the do-it-for-me side of our business is growing faster than the DIY. We speculate this is primarily a symptom of the economy whereas the typical do-it-for-me customer may not be as financially challenged as a typical DIY customer who primarily does their own vehicle maintenance out of economic necessity. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com