CarMax Inc. is riding a car sales wave, and the Sacramento region is feeling the effects.
The used car giant said Monday that it would hire 50 people for a new store opening in Fairfield on Aug. 31.
The 29,000-square-foot store at 2955 Auto Mall Parkway will be the second in the Sacramento vicinity and the 17th in California. CarMax already operates a store on Eureka Road in Roseville.
CarMax, based in Richmond, Va., has been in an aggressive expansion mode. In August of last year, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved the eventual construction of a CarMax Auto Superstore in the 8100 block of East Stockton Boulevard, north of Calvine Road.
Once the two-phase project is built out, county officials said, the store will create 50 new jobs and produce $650,000 a year in sales tax for government coffers.
CarMax, started 20 years ago, bills itself as "the nation's largest retailer of used cars."
The CarMax concept is attractive to motorists looking for recent-vintage used cars that have been brought up to near-new standards by CarMax technicians.
CarMax currently operates 112 stores in 61 markets, and right now, business is good. In 2011, the company said it planned to add 55 stores by February 2016.
In its most recent quarterly report, released last month for the three-month period ended May 31, CarMax profits swelled to $146.7 million, or 64 cents per share, from $120.7 million, or 52 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Net sales and operating revenues in the quarter rose 19.3 percent to $3.3 billion.
Those numbers far exceeded Wall Street expectations, and CarMax said quarterly car sales increased 22 percent to 137,154.
Tom Folliard, CarMax president and CEO, called it "our strongest increase in comparable store used unit sales in several years" and cited "strong retail sales growth."
Sales of both used and new cars have been surging so far this year, with analysts pointing to pent-up consumer demand, readily available and relatively affordable credit, and an uptick in consumer confidence.
Also, a lot of used cars became available early this year with the expiration of tens of thousands of lease agreements.
Analysts say many consumers who hung on to their older vehicles during the recession are now opting to spend for new or recent-vintage cars instead of pouring maintenance and repair money into their old cars.
Bandon, Ore.-based CNW Research, which tracks the used car industry, is projecting overall used car sales of 41.25 million units this year, up from 40.52 million in 2012. CNW expects used car sales to steadily increase through 2016, with 43.5 million predicted for that year.
Job applications for the Fairfield CarMax store are now being accepted for various full- and part-time positions at www.carmax.com/careers.
Job openings are in business, sales, service and technical.
Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.