Online acquisition overshadows soft sales at Autozone

New York -- AutoZone said it acquired online automotive retailer AutoAnything.com in conjunction with the release of first quarter earnings Tuesday morning.

Profit at the nation’s largest retailer of automotive products increased 6.4% to $203.5 million during the quarter ended Nov. 17, and sales rose 3.5% to $2 billion. Same-store sales edged up 0.2%.

The sales were lower than the company expected, but AutoZone chairman, president and CEO Bill Rhodes characterized the company’s performance as solid, noting it was the 25th consecutive quarter of double-digit profit growth.

"While this past quarter's sales results were lower than planned, they were not surprising to us. Regional sales discrepancies continued to challenge our results, however we began to see improvements in our more challenged regions late in the quarter," Rhodes said. "We believe the initiatives we have in place are correct for delivering solid financial results, as we remain excited about our opportunities for the remainder of fiscal 2013."

A noteworthy development was the acquisition of online retailer AutoAnything.com. Rhodes said he looked forward to formally welcoming the AutoAnything team to AutoZone, but he offered no additional details.

"The company's culture and leadership is an outstanding fit with our company as we look forward to growing our e-commerce initiatives for many years to come," Rhodes said.