Low gas prices, cold weather boost AutoZone results

AutoZone, the second-largest U.S. auto parts retailer, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by lower gas prices and colder-than-usual weather that encouraged customers to ready their cars for a harsh winter.

AutoZone's shares rose 3.3 percent in premarket trading.

Auto parts retailers typically benefit towards the end of the year as cold weather weakens car batteries and thickens engine oil, leading to greater wear and tear in other parts. Tires and brakes also wear out faster in icy conditions.

AutoZone said on Tuesday sales were also helped by low gas prices, which encouraged people to drive more.

The company said it had lined up more products in the quarter ended Nov. 22, pushing revenue up 8 percent to $2.26 billion.

Net income rose to $238.3 million, or $7.27 per share, in the first quarter from $218.1 million, or $6.29 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $7.16 per share and revenue of $2.21 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

AutoZone's shares were trading at $600 before the bell.

Up to Monday's close, the stock had risen about 22 percent this year, outperforming an 11 percent rise in the S&P 500 Index.