May 27, 2009 / 11:40 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-AutoZone Q3 profit beats Street

* Q3 EPS $3.13/shr vs est $2.89/shr

* Q3 sales up 9 pct

May 27 (Reuters) - Retailer AutoZone Inc (AZO.N) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by lower fuel prices and increased demand for replacement auto parts amid the downturn in new vehicle sales.

“The current economic environment, combined with the reduction in fuel prices compared to last year, has clearly been beneficial to our industry’s performance,” Chief Executive Bill Rhodes said in a statement.

Third-quarter net income rose to $173.7 million, or $3.13 a share, from $158.6 million, or $2.49 a share a year ago.

Net sales rose 9 percent to $1.66 billion during the period.

Analysts on average were looking for a profit of $2.89 a share, before special items, on revenue of $1.61 billion, according to Reuters estimates.

AutoZone shares closed at $162.84 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Dhanya Ann Thoppil in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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