AutoZone reported net sales of $2.8 billion for its third quarter, down 0.1% from its fiscal third-quarter 2019.
Domestic same-store sales for the quarter, which ended May 9, slipped 1%.
In a news release announcing its results, AutoZone said the quarter had three distinct four-week segments. Retail and commercial sales were strong during the first four weeks, and the company saw “mid-single-digit” increases in same-store sales. AutoZone started feeling the impact of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders during the next four weeks, and “same-store sales were down materially.” Over the last four weeks of the quarter, as consumers began receiving their stimulus checks, “same-store sales turned meaningfully positive,” the company noted.
“Prior to a discussion of our third-quarter results, it is important to address the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on our business,” AutoZone CEO Bill Rhodes said. “While certain retailers closed their stores during this time, our stores remained open to service the motoring public. First and foremost, the health, safety and well-being of our AutoZoners and customers remains our most important concern. During these times, our AutoZoners have made sure customers can safely and responsibly operate their vehicles and get back on the road. To better serve our customers and promote health and safety, we initially reduced the hours of operation in most of our stores, but subsequently have returned to more normal operating hours. We also increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting all locations, and introduced new service options for customers, such as curbside pickup. We have provided additional paid time off for both full-time and part-time eligible hourly AutoZoners to help them deal with the challenges they face as a result of COVID-19.”
Due to the coronavirus, AutoZone “experienced the most extreme fluctuations in sales, both negative and positive, in the company’s more than 40-year history,” Rhodes asserted.
“Because of this extreme volatility and uncertainty around the continued effects of the virus and government and consumer responses, it is difficult for us to forecast short-term results with any degree of confidence,” Rhodes added. “But our team has proven yet again that we can flex our business quickly in this dynamic environment, and we significantly enhanced our liquidity as previously announced.”