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America's Car-Mart reported profit that fell short of analysts' estimates but booked record revenue for its fourth quarter in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, the company said in an earnings release Thursday afternoon.

The Bentonville buy-here-pay-here used-car dealer reported net income of $9.2 million for the quarter ended April 30, or $1.35 a share, compared with $14.55 million, or $2.07 a share, for the same period a year ago. A consensus of four analysts predicted earnings per share of $1.51 for the fourth quarter, according to Yahoo Finance.

For the quarter, Car-Mart reported record revenue of $195.6 million, according to the company. That's an increase of 11.3% compared with $176.8 million for the same quarter in 2019. The analysts had predicted revenue of $175.29 million.

For the year, Car-Mart booked revenue of $744.6 million, up from $669.1 million in 2019. Net income for the period was $51.3 million, or $7.39 a share, compared with $47.6 million, or $6.73 a share.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

"As we push through the covid-19 pandemic, our financial position and operating results reflect the quality and power of our Car-Mart business model," Jeff Williams, Car-Mart's president and chief executive, said in a statement. "We are a ground-level operator and were able to turn on a dime to keep our dealerships open in accordance with all state and local orders so that we could continue serving the essential needs of our communities throughout the crisis."

Car-Mart released its earnings after the market closed. Shares closed at $73.38, up $2.38 or 3.3% in Thursday's trading on the Nasdaq. Over the past year, shares have traded as low as $35.18 in the early days of the pandemic to as high as $129.70 in mid-February.

A conference call with company management and analysts is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. Live audio of the call will be available at (877) 776-4031, and a webcast will be available at the Car-Mart website, www.car-mart.com.

The company also said that it took an $11.7 million pretax charge to allow for credit losses expected because of the pandemic. Car-Mart's core customers have little to no credit and are expected to be hit hard financially.

[RELATED » Interactive: Economic impacts of covid-19 » arkansasonline.com/economy/]

Car-Mart's chief financial officer, Vickie Judy, said in the release that the company is working to stay flexible during the pandemic, adding that for the safety of customers and employees, it suspended some collection methods including personal visits and repossession efforts for a period and remains uncertain how customers will react to the new economic environment.

In late March, Car-Mart said that it would borrow up to an additional $30 million under an established loan and security agreement as a precautionary measure in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier in the month, the company created a task force to deal with the pandemic's effects on its business and customers.

Car-Mart has more than 81,000 customers and more than 2,000 employees, and it operates 145 dealerships in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Business on 05/22/2020

Print Headline: Car-Mart earnings short of estimates

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