Stewart Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEI) reported its results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended October 31, 2010.
The Company reported net earnings from continuing operations for fiscal year 2010 of $30.6 million, or $.33 per diluted share, compared to net earnings from continuing operations of $23.2 million, or $.25 per diluted share, for fiscal year 2009. For the quarter ended October 31, 2010, the Company reported net earnings from continuing operations of $8.7 million, or $.09 per diluted share, compared to net earnings from continuing operations of $3.5 million, or $.04 per diluted share, for the quarter ended October 31, 2009.
Highlights of the fourth quarter include:
* Produced strong operating and free cash flow of $14.2 million and $10.1 million, respectively, for the quarter;
* Achieved a $2.1 million increase in cemetery revenue and a $3.5 million increase in cemetery gross profit, resulting in a 560 basis point increase in cemetery gross profit margin;
* Experienced a 1.7 percent increase in average revenue per traditional funeral service and a 4.3 percent increase in average revenue per cremation service;
* Increased funeral gross profit by $0.8 million and increased funeral gross profit margin by 130 basis points, despite a 3.3 percent decrease in same-store funeral services;
* Reduced debt by 4.3 percent, or $14.9 million, in the fourth quarter of 2010; and
* Purchased $4.0 million of the Company's outstanding common stock.
Founded in 1910, Stewart Enterprises is the second largest provider of products and services in the death care industry in the United States. The Company currently owns and operates 218 funeral homes and 141 cemeteries in the United States and Puerto Rico. Through its subsidiaries, the Company provides a complete range of funeral and cremation merchandise and services, along with cemetery property, merchandise and services, both at the time of need and on a preneed basis.
AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) recently announced its Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of an additional $500 million of the Company's common stock in connection with its ongoing share repurchase program. Since the inception of the repurchase program in 1998, and including the above amount, AutoZone's Board of Directors has authorized $9.9 billion.
"AutoZone's continued strong financial performance allows us to repurchase our stock while maintaining our investment grade credit ratings," said Bill Giles, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Information Technology and Store Development. "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."
As of November 20, 2010, AutoZone sells auto and light truck parts, chemicals and accessories through 4,404 AutoZone stores in 48 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and 241 stores in Mexico.
AutoZone is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. Each store carries an extensive product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories, and non-automotive products. Many stores also have a commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and prompt delivery of parts and other products to local, regional and national repair garages, dealers, service stations, and public sector accounts. AutoZone also sells the ALLDATA brand diagnostic and repair software.
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