Monro lowers full-year forecast on weak sales

Monro Muffler says car owners held off repairs in uncertain economy, lowers full-year outlook

Associated Press

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Monro Muffler Brake Inc.'s shares fell Tuesday after the car repair company lowered its full-year outlook.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company's CEO John Van Heel said the economy continues to weigh on consumers and they are delaying purchases or performing basic auto maintenance services on their own. The company also said the weather did not help the company until the final weeks of December.

Monro Muffler reported net income of $11.3 million, or 35 cents per share, for its fiscal third quarter. That's down nearly 17 percent compared with the $13.6 million, or 42 cents per share, a year ago. After adjusting for special costs and other items, Monro made 37 cents per share.

Sales increased by nearly 8 percent to $190.4 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet expecting the company to earn 36 cents per share on revenue of $189.1 million.

The revenue gain came largely from new stores. Monro added 65 locations during the quarter, ending the period with 918 stores. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 5.9 percent. That's considered a key indicator of financial performance because it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores.

Monro Muffler expects that measure to fall 5.5 to 6.5 percent in fiscal 2013. As a result, it lowered its earnings expectations to $1.27 to $1.32 per share for the year from a prior forecast of $1.36 to $1.50. Analysts estimated the company would earn $1.47 per share.

Monro expects sales at its established stores to fall 6 to 9 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter, for earnings of 20 to 25 cents per share. Analysts estimated earnings of 36 cents per share.

Van Heel said the company expects choppy results in the short-term, but it has a positive outlook for the industry in the long term.

Monro Muffler shares fell 96 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $35.66 in afternoon trading. They dropped as low as $33.08 earlier in the session.

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