AutoZone logged a 26% growth in its commercial business during the fiscal fourth quarter, the auto parts retailer reported Monday (Sept. 19).
Commercial sales for the year came in at $4.2 billion, the company said in a news release.
That’s higher than the $4 billion goal company officials had set last year, AutoZone CEO Bill Rhodes said on a conference call.
“That lofty goal, ultimately, wasn’t nearly lofty enough,” he said.
The company also continued to expand its footprint during the quarter, opening 53 new stores in the U.S., 30 in Mexico and 14 in Brazil. AutoZone’s total store count is now at 6,943.
AutoZone reported net sales of $5.3 billion for the quarter, up 8.9% from the fourth quarter of 2021. Domestic same-store sales rose by 6.2% for the quarter.
Rhodes attributed the sales growth in part to the company’s expanded hub and mega-hub rollouts and its growing distribution center footprint, opening two centers in the U.S. and one in Mexico.
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These openings, Rhodes said, contribute to his company’s goal of “carrying more product closer and closer to the customer.”
Rhodes said a number of factors drove sales during the quarter, including improved satellite store inventory and delivery times, the popularity of the company’s Duralast brand, and — to a lesser extent — the hot summer weather.
“Extreme weather drives parts failure and maintenance,” he said. “Heat leads to failure.”
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Earlier this year, Rhodes said the company was seeing demand for auto parts due to the rising cost of new and used vehicles, aging cars — the average car on the road is now 12 years old — and people driving more miles.
“If you look at the used car price dynamic just in general, those higher residual values are actually encouraging our customers to invest in maintaining their vehicles because they’re comfortable that the value is actually holding,” Rhodes said.
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