Charlotte-based Sonic Automotive reported third-quarter earnings that were better than expected as sales rose to record highs in both the new and used car categories.
The auto dealer’s net income from continuing operations for the quarter totaled $27.10 million for the quarter, or 53 cents a share, for the three months ending Sept. 30. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated 47 cents a share.
Sonic’s quarterly revenue was $2.49 billion, above the Wall Street forecast of $2.46 billion.
The company said new and used car sales reached record highs for the quarter. New retail sales totaled 36,891, up 1.6 percent over the same quarter last year. Pre-owned sales totaled 30,467, up 10.6 percent over the third quarter in 2014.
“The automotive retail environment continues to expand and present us with opportunities to strengthen and grow our business,” Scott Smith, Sonic’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Included in Sonic’s earnings were about $3.7 million in costs related to its EchoPark operations.
Sonic began rolling out the concept of the standalone used-car stores in Denver last year, and Smith said Wednesday that the company plans to open two more Denver stores in the first half of 2016. Additionally, Sonic said it is in the process of acquiring properties in two additional, unnamed markets in which to roll out the EchoPark concept.
Smith said customers have loved the “speed and ease” of the company’s One Sonic One-Experience sales model, which it has rolled out in Charlotte and which is intended to eliminate the “pain points” of car-buying, such as price-haggling.
In afternoon trading Wednesday, Sonic’s shares were up over 7 percent to $23.47.