AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) Q4: Beats On Revenue

Anthony Lee /
2023/09/19 9:30 am EDT

Auto parts and accessories retailer AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) reported Q4 FY2023 results topping analysts' expectations, with revenue up 6.4% year on year to $5.69 billion. The company didn’t provide any forward revenue guidance. Turning to EPS, AutoZone made a GAAP profit of $46.46 per share, improving from its profit of $40.52 per share in the same quarter last year.

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AutoZone (AZO) Q4 FY2023 Highlights:

  • Revenue: $5.69 billion vs analyst estimates of $5.61 billion (1.46% beat)
  • EPS: $46.46 vs analyst estimates of $44.89 (3.49% beat)
  • Free Cash Flow of $701.8 million, down 24.1% from the same quarter last year
  • Gross Margin (GAAP): 52.7%, up from 51.5% in the same quarter last year
  • Same-Store Sales were up 4.5% year on year (beat overall, miss on domestic same-store sales)
  • Store Locations: 7,140 at quarter end, increasing by 197 over the last 12 months

"While we started this quarter slowly, we saw improvements in the back half of our quarter. Despite lower than expected growth in domestic Commercial, we believe that the initiatives we have in place and are implementing will drive stronger growth in fiscal 2024. Additionally, we continued to be pleased with our International stores’ performance and we are excited about future growth prospects across both Mexico and Brazil. While we turn our focus to performance in the new fiscal year, we will remain committed to prudently investing capital in our business, and we will be steadfast in our long-term, disciplined approach to increasing operating earnings and cash flows while utilizing our balance sheet effectively,” said Bill Rhodes, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Aiming to be a one-stop shop for the do-it-yourself (DIY), AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) is an auto parts and accessories retailer that sells everything from car batteries to windshield wiper fluid to brake pads.

Cars are complex machines that need maintenance and occasional repairs, and auto parts retailers cater to the professional mechanic as well as the do-it-yourself (DIY) fixer. Work on cars may entail replacing fluids, parts, or accessories, and these stores have the parts and accessories or these jobs. While e-commerce competition presents a risk, these stores have a leg up due to the combination of broad and deep selection as well as expertise provided by sales associates. Another change on the horizon could be the increasing penetration of electric vehicles.

Sales Growth

AutoZone is one of the larger companies in the consumer retail industry and benefits from economies of scale, enabling it to gain more leverage on fixed costs and offer consumers lower prices.

As you can see below, the company's annualized revenue growth rate of 10.1% over the last four years (we compare to 2019 to normalize for COVID-19 impacts) was impressive as it opened new stores and grew sales at existing, established stores.

AutoZone Total Revenue

This quarter, AutoZone reported solid year-on-year revenue growth of 6.4% and its revenue of $5.69 billion outperformed analysts' estimates by 1.46%. Looking ahead, the analysts covering the company expect sales to grow 5.16% over the next 12 months.

Our recent pick has been a big winner, and the stock is up more than 2,000% since the IPO a decade ago. If you didn’t buy then, you have another chance today. The business is much less risky now than it was in the years after going public. The company is a clear market leader in a huge, growing $200 billion market. Its $7 billion of revenue only scratches the surface. Its products are mission critical. Virtually no customers ever left the company. See it here.

Number of Stores

When a retailer like AutoZone is opening new stores, it usually means that demand is greater than supply, and in turn, it's investing for growth. AutoZone's store count increased by 197 locations, or 2.84%, over the last 12 months to 7,140 total retail locations in the most recently reported quarter.

AutoZone Operating Retail Locations

Taking a step back, the company has generally opened new stores over the last eight quarters, averaging 2.85% annual growth in its physical footprint. This is decent store growth and in line with other retailers. With an expanding store base and demand, revenue growth can come from multiple vectors: sales from new stores, sales from e-commerce, or increased foot traffic and higher sales per customer at existing stores.

Same-Store Sales

AutoZone's demand within its existing stores has generally risen over the last two years but lagged behind the broader consumer retail sector. On average, the company's same-store sales have grown by 6.69% year on year. With positive same-store sales growth amid an increasing physical footprint of stores, AutoZone is reaching more customers and growing sales.

AutoZone Year On Year Same Store Sales Growth

In the latest quarter, AutoZone's same-store sales rose 4.5% year on year. By the company's standards, this growth was a meaningful deceleration from the 6.2% year-on-year increase it posted 12 months ago. One quarter fluctuations aren't material for the long-term prospects of a business, but we'll watch AutoZone closely to see if it can reaccelerate growth.

Key Takeaways from AutoZone's Q4 Results

Sporting a market capitalization of $45.8 billion, more than $277.1 million in cash on hand, and positive free cash flow over the last 12 months, we believe that AutoZone is attractively positioned to invest in growth.

It was encouraging to see AutoZone slightly top analysts' expectations across the board this quarter. Same-store sales, revenue, gross margin, operating profit, and EPS all beat. On the other hand, domestic same-store sales missed, and the overall beat was driven by international markets. The company did not give forward guidance in the earnings release although management commentary suggested that the quarter's performance started slower and progressively improved. Overall, this was a fine quarter for AutoZone. The company is down 2.97% on the results and currently trades at $2,450 per share.

So should you invest in AutoZone right now? When making that decision, it's important to consider its valuation, business qualities, as well as what has happened in the latest quarter. We cover that in our actionable full research report which you can read here.

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The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned in this report.