AutoZone: A Stock for All Seasons

Auto parts retailer AutoZone (NYSE: AZO  ) , which posted a jump in revenues in the previous quarter, belongs on a list of "stocks for all seasons." Because vehicle ownership is a large part of North American culture, and maintenance is an intrinsic aspect of having a vehicle, we can assume there will always be some level of demand for AutoZone's service. Let's take a look at AutoZone's fundamentals and see how the stock may benefit you in the long run.

Chugging along nicely
What impresses me the most is the rate at which AutoZone has been accelerating its revenue growth over the past year. Although the company's annual revenue growth over the past five years stands at 7%, growth over the past one year is 10%. This doesn't come as a surprise considering the effort which the company is putting into expanding sales.

AutoZone added 68 new stores in the previous quarter, taking it to a total of 4,813. Though the new stores played a part in the revenue growth, domestic stores operational for more than one year also posted a jump of 6.3% in sales.

AutoZone has also been pushing itself aggressively into markets in Mexico and Brazil. It opened 18 additional stores in Mexico in the quarter, a region which has provided a good response to its products, and it plans to break ground in Brazil for its first store there. These expansionary plans help make AutoZone a stock worth putting on your watchlist. Its performance in such turbulent times strengthens my belief about its long-term prospects.

Impressive valuation
Now let's take a look at how the company stacks up against its peers and competitors as far as its value is concerned.

Company

Trailing P/E

(TTM)

PEG Ratio

Gross Margin

(TTM)

AutoZone 16.8 0.9 51%
O'Reilly Automotive (Nasdaq: ORLY  ) 22.0 1.1 49%
Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP  ) 14.4 1.0 50%
Monro Muffler Brake (Nasdaq: MNRO  ) 23.5 0.8 41%
CarMax (NYSE: KMX  ) 15.7 1.0 16%

Source: S&P Capital IQ. TTM = trailing 12 months.

AutoZone is not exactly the cheapest of the lot, but it doesn't stand out as overly expensive, either. The stock has consistently reported impressive profits one quarter after another, and the stock price has gained some 20% this year. It sports the best gross margin figure among its peers. Since the company is striving to accelerate itself, a look at the PEG ratio, which tells us of growth prospects, shows a clearer picture. Analysts have shown their faith in AutoZone's growth potential; and a PEG ratio of 0.9 is pretty decent when compared to the rest in the table.

The Foolish takeaway
Consistency and growth prospects are the biggest weapons in AutoZone's arsenal, and I believe that this is a stock that could easily find a way in your portfolio. Recession or no recession, AutoZone doesn't care a hang about it and keeps chugging along.

To stay up to speed on the latest developments at AutoZone, add it to My Watchlist.

Harsh Chauhan doesn't own any shares in the companies mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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