FINANCE

AutoZone 3Q Profit Rises on Improved Efficiency

BY CSA STAFF

New York City AutoZone Inc. said its fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 5%, as higher commercial auto-parts sales and improved efficiencies countered higher operating expenses.

The company earned $158.6 million, compared with $151.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 3% to $1.52 billion, from $1.47 billion in the prior-year period.

The company said supply chain efficiency improved, but was partially offset by higher shrink expense. Operating expenses also rose slightly, AutoZone said.

Meanwhile, the company reported that domestic same-store sales fell 0.3% in the quarter.

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Stobb named investor relations head at Goodyear

BY CSA STAFF

AKRON, Ohio The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. announced that Patrick Stobb has joined the company as director of investor relations. Stobb will report to Darren Wells, Goodyear’s senior vp of finance and strategy.

Prior to joining Goodyear, Stobb was director of investor relations for TRW Automotive Holdings since 2003. He also held a variety of investor relations and finance positions with the Visteon from 2000 to 2003 and the Ford Motor Co. from 1997 to 2000.

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Mervyns to open new stores, launch Web site

BY CSA STAFF

HAYWARD, Calif. Mervyns said it plans to open five new stores in its core markets in 2009. This brings the total number of new Mervyns stores to 17 since the company was acquired by its private equity owners three years ago, and reflects its commitment to maintaining a dominant real estate position in California and the Southwest. Concurrently, Mervyns reported it has engaged DJM Realty, LLC, one of the nation’s leading real estate advisory firms, to sell 5-10 underperforming, but high real-estate-value, stores. The real estate portfolio transition is expected to generate $25 to $50 million in cash to fund operations and new growth initiatives.

The company also announced it will launch a fully integrated e-commerce Web site in the fourth quarter of 2008.  Mervyns said the e-commerce Web site presents a new growth vehicle and multi-channel opportunity for existing and new customers nationwide, and forecasts that the online platform could quickly grow into a $50 million business. Mervyns will partner with a nationally recognized provider of turnkey order entry and fulfillment services in launching its Web site.

Ceo John Goodman commented, “We have a plan that centers around our consumer and her needs, and we are putting the capital and people resources behind it to not only overcome the current difficult retail climate, but to gain market share and reinvigorate the Mervyns brand.”

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