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Stock buybacks fuel Autozone earnings

BY CSA STAFF

AutoZone shares have traded above $500 for most of the year but the company remains an aggressive purchaser of its own stock and recently authorized the expenditure of $750 million to buy even more shares.

The recent authorization brings the total amount the company has spent buying back stock to $14.9 billion since the program began in 1998. AutoZone does not pay a dividend.

"AutoZone’s continued strong financial performance allows us to repurchase our stock while maintaining our investment grade credit ratings," said Bill Giles, AutoZone’s EVP and CFO of information technology and ALLDATA. “We remain committed to utilizing share repurchases within the bounds of a disciplined capital structure to enhance stockholder returns while maintaining adequate liquidity to execute our plans."

The share repurchase announcement follows the release in late May of financial results for the company’s third quarter ended May 10 that show the powerful impact the program has on earnings growth. Same store sales grew 4%, total sales increased 6.2% to $2.34 billion and net income grew 7.4% to $285.2 million. However, earnings per share increased 16.4% to $8.46 from $7.27 as the number of shares outstanding decline significantly from the year earlier period.

AutoZone spent $420 million to buy back 795,000 shares during its third quarter and during the first three quarters of the fiscal year the company said its spent $912 million to buy back nearly 1.9 million shares. As a result, the number of shares outstanding at the end of the most recent quarter were 33.7 million versus 36.5 million the prior year. Had no share repurchase activity occurred, AutoZone’s earning per share during the third quarter would have been $7.80, a 7.3% increase from the prior year rather than the 16.4% increase the company actually reported.

AutoZone currently operates 5,279 stores, including 4,901 locations in the U.S., 374 locations in Mexico and four stores in Brazil.

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Maybelline welcomes back supermodel Adriana Lima

BY CSA STAFF

Maybelline New York is rolling out the welcome wagon for Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima, who served as global spokesperson once before, from 2003-2009.

Lima rejoins current spokeswomen Christy Turlington, Emily DiDonato, Jourdan Dunn and Marloes Horst.

"We are honored to welcome back Adriana to our amazing roster of spokespeople," said Jerome Bruhat, global brand president of Maybelline New York. "Globally, women admire not only Adriana’s beauty but also her commitment to helping those in need. We are honored to partner with her again. Her passion for life and positive energy is undeniable. She truly is a Maybelline woman."

Lima has been on the covers of the Italian, Turkish, Spanish and Brazilian editions of Vogue, American and Spanish editions of V Magazine, American, Spanish and Brazilian editions of Harper’s Bazaar, and American Elle. She has also worked with esteemed photographers such as Steven Meisel, Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Peter Lindbergh, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott and Mario Testino.

"It’s wonderful to be a part of the Maybelline New York brand again," said Lima. "I am proud to say that I am a Maybelline girl, and I look forward to the work we will do together. The imagery is always beautiful and positive which is what I admire most about the brand. To be a part of that again is a dream come true."

Lima will make her Maybelline New York return in print and television advertising campaigns this summer.

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Johnson & Johnson adds UPS chairman and CEO to board

BY CSA STAFF

Johnson & Johnson has added UPS chairman and CEO D. Scott Davis to its board as director. Davis will serve on the audit committee and the regulatory, compliance and government affairs committee.

Davis has been with UPS for 29 years and was appointed its CEO in 2008. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its logistics network reach and capabilities throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Davis plans to retire Sept. 1, and will remain non-executive chairman of UPS’ board.

Davis is a leading advocate for increased global trade and export growth. In 2010, he joined the president’s export council, the principal national advisory committee on international trade. He also is a member of the Business Roundtable. At the end of 2009, he completed a term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

"Along with his knowledge and passion for emerging markets and international operations, Scott Davis will also bring to our board his unique expertise in supply chain logistics at a time of rapid global expansion in the health care industry," said Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson. "Scott will be a valuable member of our Board, as we continue to position Johnson & Johnson as a leader in developing solutions that improve patient outcomes."

Davis is also on Honeywell International’s board. He serves as a trustee of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is a member of The Carter Center Board of Councilors.

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