ROCHESTER, N.Y.Monro Muffler Brake Inc. suffered double-digit drops in operating and net income for the quarter and year ended March 30 despite sales gains in both periods.
Monro attributed its lower earnings in part on a shift in sales to lower-margin tiresprimarily related to newly acquired storesand a loss of leverage from weaker year-to-year comparable store sales.
Monro President and CEO John Van Heel said the fourth quarter performance reflected the continued impact of the challenging economic environment that has been weighing on our customers. Given the environment, our customers continued to defer purchases and trade down from higher-cost automotive maintenance and repair purchases.
Net income in the quarter fell 22.6 percent to $8.1 million, while sales increased 14.1 percent to $195.9 million. Operating income for the quarter decreased 11.4 percent to $15.5 million.
Net income for fiscal 2013 fell 22.1 percent to $42.6 million, while sales increased 6.6 percent to $732 million. Operating income fell 19.4 percent to $73.7 million.
Mr. Van Heel also said the weather conditions in January impacted comparable store sales, but that sales started improving in February. That positive trend continued into the first quarter of fiscal 2014, he added.
Revenue from acquired stores contributed $43.5 million in new sales in the fourth quarter, Rochester-based Monro said, offsetting a 5.6-percent drop in comparable store sales. For the fiscal year, new stores added nearly $100 million in additional sales.
Despite the lower earnings picture, Mr. Van Heel touted Monro's ability to leverage our strong business model, regardless of the economic or operating environment and to take advantage of increased acquisition opportunities....
During fiscal 2013 Monro added 139 stores in eight separate acquisitions and ended the year with 937 stores overall in 22 states under seven retail identities.
Mr. Van Heel said Monro management believes the firm's acquisition growth in fiscal 2013 positions it to deliver strong earnings growth over the next several years.
He also said Monro continues to see attractive acquisition opportunities in the marketplace and will pursue these opportunities in a disciplined manner as we leverage our strong balance sheet and business model to drive top-line growth and operating leverage.
The firm is evaluating eight acquisition possibilities and could close on one or two of them during the first quarter, he said.