Auto parts retailer AutoZone misses Q3 sales estimates on inventory pile-up

FILE PHOTO: A customer leaves the AutoZone store in Broomfield

(Reuters) – Auto parts retailer AutoZone Inc missed expectations for third-quarter net sales on Tuesday, as increased prices of automobile parts led to a rise in inventories, sending its shares 3.2% lower before the bell.

“Weaker-than-expected sales for the month of March meaningfully affected our results this quarter,” CEO Bill Rhodes said.

Elevated material costs and supply chain woes have led to U.S. auto suppliers hiking prices for their products across the board.

On the other hand, consumers weary of a looming recession have been tightening their purse strings and scaling back on discretionary spending.

The auto parts supplier’s inventory rose 7.4% for the quarter ended May 6 from a year earlier. Domestic same store sales, however, grew merely 1.9%, from a rise of 2.6% in the year-ago period.

The Nevada-based company reported net sales of $4.09 billion for the quarter, below analysts’ average estimate of $4.12 billion.

But Autozone, which has operations in the U.S., Brazil and Mexico, posted net income per share of $34.12, edging past estimates of $31.42, aided by price hikes.

(Reporting by Raechel Thankam Job; Editing by Rashmi Aich)