Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
|3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2016
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
1. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Basis of Presentation – The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements of Sonic Automotive, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries (“Sonic,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our”) for the three months ended March 31, 2016 and 2015, are unaudited and have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”) for interim financial information and applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Accordingly, they do not include all of the information and footnotes required by U.S. GAAP for complete financial statements. These unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements reflect, in the opinion of management, all material normal recurring adjustments necessary to fairly state the financial position, results of operations and cash flows for the periods presented. The operating results for interim periods are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for the entire fiscal year or future interim periods, because the first quarter normally contributes less operating profit than the second, third and fourth quarters. These interim financial statements should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements included in Sonic’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements – In February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-02 to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and lease liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing arrangements. The amendments in this ASU require that leases are classified as either finance or operating leases, a right-of-use asset and lease liability is recognized in the statement of financial position, and repayments are classified within operating activities in the statement of cash flows. For public companies, this ASU is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2018 (early adoption is permitted). Upon adoption of this ASU, the presentation of certain items in Sonic’s consolidated financial position, cash flows and other disclosures will be impacted.
In March 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-09 to simplify several aspects of the accounting for share-based payment transactions. For public companies, this ASU is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2016 (early adoption is permitted). Upon adoption of this ASU, the presentation of certain items in Sonic’s consolidated financial position, results of operations, cash flows and other disclosures will be impacted.
Principles of Consolidation – All of Sonic’s subsidiaries are wholly-owned and consolidated in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements, except for one 50% - owned dealership that is accounted for under the equity method. All material intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in the accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements.
Lease Exit Accruals – Lease exit accruals relate to facilities Sonic has ceased using in its operations that remain subject to a current lease agreement. The accruals represent the present value of the lease payments, net of estimated or actual sublease proceeds, for the remaining life of the operating leases and other accruals necessary to satisfy the lease commitment to the landlord. These situations could include the relocation of an existing facility or the sale of a dealership where the buyer will not be subleasing the property for either the remaining term of the lease or for an amount of rent equal to Sonic’s obligation under the lease, or in situations where a store is closed as a result of the associated franchise being terminated by Sonic or the manufacturer and no other operations continue on the leased property. See Note 12, “Commitments and Contingencies,” to the consolidated financial statements in Sonic’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 for further discussion.
A summary of the activity of these operating lease exit accruals consists of the following:
Income Tax Expense – The overall effective tax rate from continuing operations was 38.8% and 39.0% for the three months ended March 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. Sonic’s effective tax rate varies from year to year based on the distribution of taxable income between states in which Sonic operates and other tax adjustments. Sonic expects the effective tax rate in future periods to fall within a range of 38.0% to 40.0% before the impact, if any, of changes in valuation allowances related to deferred income tax assets or unusual discrete tax adjustments.