* Fourth-quarter EPS $8.46 vs est $8.40
* Fourth-quarter sales $2.76 bln vs est $2.80 bln
* Fourth-quarter sales growth 5 pct vs 8 pct year-earlier
* Shares down 4 pct premarket
Sept 19 AutoZone Inc's quarterly sales
slowed on the lingering effects of a warmer-than-usual winter
that resulted in less damage to cars, reducing the need to
replace auto parts.
Shares of the largest U.S. auto parts retail chain fell 4
percent in premarket trading.
AutoZone, which competes with Advance Auto Parts Inc
and O'Reilly Automotive Inc, said same store sales
performance for the quarter was below its expectations.
Total sales rose 5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared
with an 8 percent rise a year earlier.
The company, which operates in both retail (do-it-yourself)
and commercial (do-it-for-me) auto parts markets, said gross
margins rose to 51.8 percent from 51.2 percent a year earlier.
Net income rose to $323.7 million, or $8.46 per share, in
the quarter ended Aug. 25, from $301.5 million, or $7.18 per
share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of $8.40 per
share, excluding items, on revenue of $2.80 billion, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
AutoZone's shares were set to open 4 percent lower at $342
on Wednesday. They closed at $357.84 on the New York Stock
Exchange on Tuesday.