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Sonic Automotive 1Q Surges On Strong Vehicle Sales

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Sonic Automotive Inc.'s (SAH) first-quarter profit more than doubled on strong vehicle sales, especially for used cars. But the profit fell short of analysts' expectations. The improved results are the latest sign a recovery is underway in the auto-retailing business after a disastrous 2009, when vehicle sales plunged and both General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC were reorganized in bankruptcy court. Last week, larger peer AutoNation Inc. (AN), reported a strong rise in first-quarter profit. "The quarter got off to a slow start as our stores came out of a very strong December and as we continued investing in our associates, but profitability improved dramatically as we progressed through the quarter," said President B. Scott Smith. The third-largest U.S. auto-dealership chain behind AutoNation and Penske Automotive Group Inc. (PAG) posted a profit of $4.2 million, or 8 cents a share, up from $1.7 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding debt-refinancing activities and mark-to-market adjustments on interest rate swaps, Sonic's adjusted earnings from continuing operations rose to 14 cents from 10 cents. Revenue grew 13% to $1.56 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 19 cents on revenue of $1.48 billion. Gross margin narrowed to 17.2% from 18%. Same-store revenue for the company's new vehicles improved 11%, and grew 29% for used cars. Shares of Sonic, which operates predominately in the Southeast, West and Southwest, closed at $13.09 Monday and were inactive premarket. -By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; [email protected]

Stock News for Sonic Automotive (SAH)
03/22/201715:35:08Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/21/201716:32:27Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/21/201716:24:30Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/14/201717:17:38Current Report Filing (8-k)
03/10/201716:05:00Sonic Automotive Announces Closing of $250 Million of Senior...
03/07/201716:02:00Sonic Automotive Announces Pricing of $250 Million of Senior...
03/07/201708:37:56Current Report Filing (8-k)
03/07/201708:23:00Sonic Automotive Announces Offering of Senior Subordinated Notes
03/06/201715:20:52Additional Proxy Soliciting Materials (definitive) (defa14a)
03/06/201715:15:02Proxy Statement (definitive) (def 14a)
02/27/201706:12:17Annual Report (10-k)
02/24/201717:02:01Proxy Statement - Notice of Shareholders Meeting (preliminary...
02/22/201717:10:14Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/22/201717:09:25Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/22/201717:08:55Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/22/201717:06:19Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/22/201717:04:12Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
02/21/201708:29:35Current Report Filing (8-k)
02/21/201707:30:00Sonic Automotive, Inc. Reports Record Results
02/16/201716:08:36Current Report Filing (8-k)

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