AutoZone’s stock is riding high enough that hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, whose hedge fund ESL Investments owned 9.25 million AutoZone shares as of June 24, has decided he bought low enough to now sell high.
He told almost 9 percent of his fund’s position in the Memphis-based auto parts retailer over the past week or so. The recent sales are Lampert’s largest in what’s been a string of regularly trimming his AutoZone shares in small bits since the end of May.
Lampert is an activist investors who also owns a big stake in other retailers like Big Lots, Gap and AutoNation.
AutoZone stock is up about 8 percent for the year, closing at $291.6 Friday, June 24. The chain opened 43 new stores during its just-ended fiscal third quarter. As of May 7, the company operated 4,467 stores in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in the U.S. and 261 stores in Mexico.
The company also is in the early stages of evaluating the possibility of opening stores in Brazil, though Autozone execs say an announcement is still a long way off.
AutoZone saw a 12.1 percent growth in profit for the quarter ended May 7.