Monro Muffler Brake Inc. exceeded $1 billion in sales during its 2017 fiscal year, ended March 25, 2017. Overall sales increased, but Monro's comparable store sales dropped 4.3% for the year.

The figures, which include an 8% increase over sales from the previous year, hint at what's to come when Monro releases its fourth quarter and full-year financial reports on May 18.

John Van Heel, CEO and president said, “We believe our fiscal 2017 comparable store sales decline is a reflection of the negative impact of unseasonable weather on our business, as well as the challenging economic conditions facing our customers.

"In fiscal 2017, we continued to leverage our increasing scale to lower our tire costs, while effectively controlling our operating expenses. In this difficult environment, we also capitalized on attractive acquisition opportunities, completing transactions representing approximately $150 million in annualized sales or 16% annualized sales growth.

"Quarter-to-date in fiscal 2018, our comparable store sales have improved and are up approximately 3%. We expect these early, positive trends, combined with contributions from our recent acquisitions and an extra week in fiscal 2018, to be positive drivers of earnings in the new fiscal year.”

In its preview of end-of-year information, Monro said its fourth quarter total sales were approximately $252 million, a 10% increase over sales in the prior year quarter of $229 million, despite an 8% decline in comparable store sales and one less selling day in the quarter.

As a result of the comparable store sales decline, the company expects diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter to be $.29.

Monro says the decline in comparable store sales was largely driven by a decline in tires sales, particularly in the Northeast and North central regions of the country, which were negatively impacted by weather.

For fiscal 2017, total sales were $1.022 billion, up from the prior year's $944 million. The company expects diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2017 of $1.85.

During the fourth quarter, the company completed the previously announced acquisition of 16 Car-X stores in Illinois and Iowa, which represent annualized sales of approximately $15 million.

Outlook for 2018

Based on "current visibility and recently completed acquisitions," Monro expects fiscal 2018 comparable store sales to increase 2% to 4% on a 52-week basis (4% to 6% including an extra week in the fourth quarter). "This guidance reflects the estimated impact of higher tire selling prices related to expected tire cost increases."

The company will host a conference call and audio webcast at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday May 18, 2017. The conference call may be accessed by dialing 1-888-516-2447 and using the required pass code 4779697. A replay will be available approximately one hour after the recording through Thursday, June 1, 2017, and can be accessed by dialing 1-844-512-2921. The live conference call and replay can also be accessed via audio webcast at the Investor Information section of the company’s website, located at www.monro.com.  An archive will be available through June 1, 2017.

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