Despite a slowing economy, CarMax Auto Superstores Inc. finished its best fiscal year, said CarMax President Austin Ligon.
The Richmond, Va., company, known for its used-car superstores, ended the 2001 fiscal year Feb. 28 with a 24 percent increase in annual sales to $2.5 billion, up from $2 billion the previous year. The company's fourth-quarter sales jumped 27 percent to $638.5 million from $504.2 million the same quarter in fiscal 2000.
Ligon said the economic downturn and less generous new-car lease deals caused many consumers to turn to used vehicles. 'When you step back and take a look, the economy was slowing, consumer confidence was down and we had a phenomenal fourth quarter,' he said.
Ligon said CarMax expects to announce profits of $44 million to $45 million on April 2, when it releases its fiscal 2001 earnings report. The company finished the 2000 fiscal year with a $1.1 million profit. The company lost money from its inception in 1993 through its 1999 fiscal year.
CarMax operates 32 used-car superstores and 22 new-car franchises. Used cars generated 81 percent of its vehicle sales dollars and 87 percent of its unit sales in fiscal 2001. The company did not release sales figures.
About 50 percent of CarMax's customers visit the company's Web site, carmax.com, before visiting a dealership, Ligon said. 'TV and newspaper is the way to let people know you exist,' he said. 'Once they know you exist, the Internet is the best way to tell them more - the inventory we have and how it is priced.'
CarMax is owned by Circuit City Stores Inc. Ligon said the company will open used-car superstores in Sacramento, Calif., and Greensboro, N.C., late in the 2002 fiscal year.