NEW YORK (The Street) -- Shares of AutoZone (AZO), the second-largest auto parts retailer in the U.S. by revenue, has been on a solid run in 2015. At around $691 a share, the stock is up almost 12% on the year to date, compared with 2% gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI).
Just as impressive, if not moreso, is that AutoZone shares continue to dominate the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT), which is up just 3% so far in 2015. The XRT is home to leading retailers like Amazon.com (AMZN) and Costco Wholesale (COST).
So with Autozone stock having already done so well, how much runway is left, and what will drive shares higher? These questions weigh on investors' minds ahead of AutoZone's fiscal third-quarter results due Tuesday before the opening bell.
Sure, there are several reasons to avoid the retail sector altogether -- the April retail data showing that consumers didn't spend as much as the market had hoped is one of them.
But it would be a mistake to sell a winner like AutoZone, especially with auto sales as still projected to climb in 2015. This is due to pent-up demand for newer cars since the average age of vehicles currently on the road is about 11 years, according to Autodata.
And even though April retail sales numbers were tepid, consumers didn't ignore the car lots of vehicle showrooms. The estimated average sale price of new vehicles sold in April climbed 2.6% to more than $33,000. And through the first quarter of 2015, the average sale price new vehicles was up more than 3% to $33,189, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.