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AUTOZONE 1ST QTR EPS UP 30 PERCENT, COMPARABLE STORE SALES UP 14 PERCENT; 31 NEW STORES AND ONE NEW DISTRIBUTION CENTER OPEN IN QTR

 MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- J.R. Hyde, III, chairman and chief executive of AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE: AZO), announced record results for AutoZone's first quarter of fiscal 1994.
 AutoZone's net income for the 12 weeks ended Nov. 20, 1993, increased 29 percent to $22.0 million from $17.1 million for the fiscal first quarter of 1993. Earnings per share increased 30 percent to 30 cents from 23 cents.
 Sales for the quarter rose 28 percent to $322.8 million from $252.5 million a year earlier. Comparable store sales for the quarter, or sales at stores opened prior to the start of fiscal 1993, rose 14 percent, compared with 7 percent in the year-earlier quarter. "Our strong increases in comparable store sales show that AutoZone continues to gain market share in existing markets, as well as new markets," Mr. Hyde said.
 During the quarter, AutoZone opened 31 new stores, compared with 13 stores opened in the first quarter of fiscal 1993. The company also relocated three additional stores to bigger buildings to accommodate increasing sales. AutoZone continues to fund its store expansion entirely from internally generated cash, Mr. Hyde said.
 "Our pace of store openings in the quarter marks our best start ever," Mr. Hyde said. "This puts us well on our way to opening our goal of 135 new stores in fiscal 1994." Mr. Hyde noted that AutoZone's goal of opening 135 new stores and 20 replacement stores in fiscal 1994 represents about a 20 percent increase in total store square footage.
 AutoZone also opened its newest and largest Distribution Center (DC) during the quarter -- a 341,000 square foot facility in Lexington, Tenn. The Lexington DC and the company's Danville, Ill., DC, which opened last May, replace the company's Memphis DC, which was closed during the quarter. The new DCs together have more than twice the square footage of the closed Memphis facility, leaving substantial room for expansion. Each DC has the capacity to serve at least 250 stores.
 AutoZone sells auto parts, chemicals and accessories, primarily to "do-it-yourself" customers, through its chain of 814 retail stores in 23 states.
 AUTOZONE FISCAL 1ST QUARTER FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 (In Thousands, Except Per-Share Data)
 12 Weeks Ended 12 Weeks Ended
 Nov. 20, 1993 Nov. 21, 1992
 Net sales $322,846 $252,508
 Gross profit 131,110 101,565
 Operating profit 35,794 27,816
 Income before income taxes 36,620 28,219
 Net income 22,020 17,119
 Net income per share $0.30 $0.23
 Average number of common and
 common equivalent shares 74,241 73,249
 -0- 12/7/93
 /CONTACT: (Financial) Sheila Stuewe, 901-325-4458, or (Media) Lesley Hartney, 901-325-4680, both of AutoZone/
 (AZO)


CO: AutoZone, Inc. ST: Tennessee IN: AUT SU: ERN

MM-CM -- CH001 -- 1130 12/07/93 08:00 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 7, 1993
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