What happened

Shares of AutoZone Inc. (NYSE:AZO) were down 8.5% as of 12:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday after the automotive parts retailer announced disappointing fiscal third-quarter 2017 results.

So what

Quarterly revenue climbed 1% year over year to $2.62 billion, and diluted earnings per share rose 6.2% to $11.44. Adjusted for AutoZone's adoption of a new accounting standard late last year, earnings would have increased 3.2%. By comparison, analysts' consensus estimates predicted higher revenue of $2.71 billion and earnings of $12 per share.

Mechanic fixing brakes on a car

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Now what

"Our sales performance for the first five weeks of our quarter was significantly below our expectations, challenged by the well-publicized timing delays in IRS tax refunds," explained AutoZone CEO Bill Rhodes. "The last seven weeks of sales demonstrated improvement, but not enough to make up for our soft start."

Rhodes further insisted the company is positioned well for the summer season, and reiterated its commitment to creating shareholder value. But given AutoZone's painful performance, it's no surprise to see shares trading near 52-week lows right now.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends AutoZone. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.