O’Reilly Automotive Inc. Earnings Call Nuggets: Commercial Penetration in CSK Stores, Weather Impact in Q1

On Thursday, O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ:ORLY) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Here’s what the C-suite revealed.

Commercial Penetration in CSK Stores

Michael Baker – Deutsche Bank: So my question, is on the commercial penetration within the CSK stores. I think if I recall at the time of the acquisition, commercial was about 10% in the acquired stores you guys have talked about a goal of gaining 40%. Correct me if I’m wrong, but at the end of last year, I think you were at 30% and so if you could let me know – let us know where you now and relative to the fourth quarter, did the commercial business within the acquired stores accelerate more or less than the total comp acceleration, that’s the first question? The second is just a clarification. You said in a couple different ways, I think I got confused, on your pricing this quarter, were you more or less sharp in your pricing in the first quarter versus the fourth quarter?

Thomas G. McFall – EVP of Finance and CFO: To answer the last question first. The description we were trying to give without going into too much detail is that our – in the pricing we referred to is our advertised price, just promotional price and what we’ve done is we’ve just taken the position that we’re running a little sharper, call the action type of advertised items and running them for shorter period of time. So the exposure to gross margin erosion is probably a little bit less, but we get more activity as a result of those ads, which is the reason that we’re running them. On CSK, the mix of commercial business continues to increase a little bit, we’ll be about 200 basis points or so ahead of where we were last time we talked to around 32% would be the commercial business number right in that area and then what was your other question Michael?

Michael Baker – Deutsche Bank: Just in terms of your acceleration in your comp to 7% from 3% last quarter, so a nice acceleration, what where did you see the biggest acceleration, was it commercial, was it DIY, was it the acquired stores, was it the core stores?

Thomas G. McFall – EVP of Finance and CFO: We don’t get into breaking down the comps between the different types of stores we have, but we saw a good pick up in both the DIY and DIFM side of the business. The CSK commercial continues to be our highest performing comp percentage that grew our business of course.

Weather Impact in Q1

Simeon Gutman – Credit Suisse: It’s Simeon for Gary. Can you talk about the slow start you mentioned in Q2? Can you comment on whether you’re already within the range that you gave and then do you have a best guess on how the weather impacted the company in the first quarter?

Thomas G. McFall – EVP of Finance and CFO: We really don’t have a guess. We know that the weather was a positive, because of the early spring weather. We go like, there was a lot of work done in appearance chemicals and some other maintenance items, that probably wouldn’t have been done in March, that would have typically been done in April. As far as the comps, we have a little bit of – this point of the month, we have a little bit of misalignment with our weekends, which significantly impacts our measure of comp store sales. So what I would tell you is, we are right around the range that we gave for our quarterly comps, but that we are comfortable with the comp guidance that we gave of 3% to 5% for the quarter.

Simeon Gutman – Credit Suisse: Okay. Then the follow-up on inventory. Can you talk about what type of inventory you are adding? I mean, presumably you are best in class already, is it categories that you are filling or are you just trying to extend your lead in certain categories?

Thomas G. McFall – EVP of Finance and CFO: Part of it is the expansion of some private label lines that we want to have better coverage on. Today, lines that we duplicate, a branded line with private label, we would have fewer SKUs in private label than what we have in the branded line. We are expanding some of those private label lines. Part of it is just the way we approach the method by which we deploy inventory. We are just seeing an opportunity to improve the science by which we deploy inventory, and we decided to use that in our new stores, and in doing that we decided to roll that out to some of our existing stores. What we are talking about is application parts or hard parts. This would not change the way we manage our display areas.

Simeon Gutman – Credit Suisse: Is there demand for either lower price point or is it higher quality?

Thomas G. McFall – EVP of Finance and CFO: It’s a mix. I think, some of the private label products that we sell today are higher quality than they were a few years ago, and there is demand for those products, and because they’re priced lower during the recession we saw a good demand for those private label products.