Automotive retailer AutoNation Inc. AN, +11.35% easily topped profit expectations Friday for its latest quarter while benefiting from higher sales of and prices for new vehicles. The company notched fourth-quarter net income of $286.4 million, or $5.72 a share, compared with $387.1 million, or $5.78 a share, in the year-prior quarter. On an adjusted basis, AutoNation earned $6.37 a share, up from $5.76 a share a year before and ahead of the FactSet consensus, which was for $5.83 a share. Revenue ticked up to $6.70 billion from $6.58 billion, while analysts were modeling $6.52 billion. The company benefited from higher average selling prices for vehicles, higher unit sales of new vehicles, and growth in the after-sales business, trends which outweighed softness in used-vehicle sales. “We continue to perform well in the current environment while taking significant steps to address the industry transformation,” Chief Executive Mike Manley said in a release.
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