Sonic Automotive (NYSE: SAH) reported earnings on April 23. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Sonic Automotive met expectations on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased. Non-GAAP earnings per share increased significantly. GAAP earnings per share increased.

Gross margins contracted, operating margins dropped, net margins were steady.

Revenue details
Sonic Automotive recorded revenue of $2.08 billion. The eight analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated a top line of $2.08 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.41. The nine earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.41 per share. Non-GAAP EPS of $0.41 for Q1 were 37% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.30 per share. (The prior-year quarter included $0.02 per share in earnings from discontinued operations.) GAAP EPS of $0.40 for Q1 were 14% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.35 per share. (The prior-year quarter included $0.02 per share in earnings from discontinued operations.)

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 15.0%, 70 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 2.6%, 10 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 1.0%, much about the same as the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.30 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.52.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $8.98 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.00.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a two-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 81 members out of 116 rating the stock outperform, and 35 members rating it underperform. Among 40 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 32 give Sonic Automotive a green thumbs-up, and eight give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Sonic Automotive is hold, with an average price target of $24.75.

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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.