Austin Ligon Quotes



Our third quarter used car sales growth reflected increased traffic compared with last year's third quarter, as well as continuing strong execution. We were able to sustain positive momentum even as the cross-shopping benefit from this summer's new car employee pricing programs waned. Subsequently, new car sales and traffic levels dropped significantly, reflecting the limited model year close-out vehicle availability that resulted from the success of the employee pricing programs.

Our third quarter used car sales growth reflected increased traffic compared with last year's third quarter, as well as continuing strong execution. We were able to sustain positive momentum even as the cross-shopping benefit from this summer's new car employee pricing programs waned. Subsequently, new car sales and traffic levels dropped significantly, reflecting the limited model year close-out vehicle availability that resulted from the success of the employee pricing programs.

Austin Ligon
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After careful consideration, we have decided that for our next fiscal year, we'll issue guidance on comparable store used unit sales and on earnings per share only for the full fiscal year. We will no longer issue quarterly guidance. This decision reflects our continuing focus on longer-term store, sales, and earnings growth and on return on invested capital, and our recognition that the performance in shorter-term periods can be more volatile than over the longer term. As we report our quarterly results, we plan to comment on how our performance is tracking against our annual guidance.

After careful consideration, we have decided that for our next fiscal year, we'll issue guidance on comparable store used unit sales and on earnings per share only for the full fiscal year. We will no longer issue quarterly guidance. This decision reflects our continuing focus on longer-term store, sales, and earnings growth and on return on invested capital, and our recognition that the performance in shorter-term periods can be more volatile than over the longer term. As we report our quarterly results, we plan to comment on how our performance is tracking against our annual guidance.

Austin Ligon
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Selling, general, and administrative expenses as a percent of net sales and operating revenues increased slightly to 11.4% in this year's third quarter from 11.3% in last year's quarter. As expected, the moderate rate of increase in unit comps was not sufficient to provide SG&A leverage. Having a larger percentage of our store base comprised of stores not yet at basic maturity and last year's lower-than-normal corporate bonuses were also contributing factors. At the end of this year's third quarter, 49% of our stores were less than four years old, compared with 40% at the end of last year's third quarter.

Selling, general, and administrative expenses as a percent of net sales and operating revenues increased slightly to 11.4% in this year's third quarter from 11.3% in last year's quarter. As expected, the moderate rate of increase in unit comps was not sufficient to provide SG&A leverage. Having a larger percentage of our store base comprised of stores not yet at basic maturity and last year's lower-than-normal corporate bonuses were also contributing factors. At the end of this year's third quarter, 49% of our stores were less than four years old, compared with 40% at the end of last year's third quarter.

Austin Ligon
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In fiscal 2007, we anticipate gross capital expenditures of approximately $300 million. Planned expenditures primarily relate to new store construction and land purchases associated with future year store openings. Compared with the roughly $200 million of spending in fiscal 2006, the fiscal 2007 capital spending estimate primarily reflects a higher level of real estate purchases for store development in future years, as well as the timing of construction activities.

In fiscal 2007, we anticipate gross capital expenditures of approximately $300 million. Planned expenditures primarily relate to new store construction and land purchases associated with future year store openings. Compared with the roughly $200 million of spending in fiscal 2006, the fiscal 2007 capital spending estimate primarily reflects a higher level of real estate purchases for store development in future years, as well as the timing of construction activities.

Austin Ligon
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