Automotive retailer CarMax Inc. plans to open five used-vehicle stores by the end of February 2012, bringing its store count to 108, and is testing a process that allows consumers to do more of the purchase process online, its CEO said.
CEO Tom Folliard said CarMax will open stores in Baton Rouge, La.; Lexington, Ky.; Escondido, Calif.; North Attleborough, Mass., and Chattanooga, Tenn. The Baton Rouge store will celebrate its grand opening Saturday, April 9.
"We will be in a position to open between eight and 10 stores" in the following fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2012, Folliard said. He made his comments during a conference call with analysts last week.
Folliard also said CarMax is testing a program that enables consumers searching for used vehicles at its Raleigh N.C., and Fayetteville, N.C., stores to complete more of the car- buying process online before arriving at the dealership.
CarMax EasyShop allows customers to conduct activities such as placing a hold on a vehicle for up to three days, scheduling test drives and applying for and obtaining financing, all online.
Folliard says it's too early to determine how much time EasyShop can shave from the purchase process. But he believes a consumer who used all EasyShop functions could complete the vehicle purchase at the dealership in less than an hour.
"We will continue to strive to allow our customers to shop in whatever process that they choose," Folliard said. A CarMax spokeswoman said it has not been determined if or when the test might be extended to other stores.
For the fiscal year that ended Feb. 28, CarMax, of Richmond, Va., reported net earnings of $380.9 million, up 35 percent, on revenues of $8.9 billion, up 20 percent.
CarMax operates 103 used-car stores and five new-car dealerships in 49 markets.