(Recasts first sentence, adds analysts' comments, details, background, stock action) CHICAGO, May 24 (Reuters) - AutoZone Inc. , the largest U.S. auto parts retail chain, on Wednesday posted lower quarterly earnings due to higher costs for store improvement, but shares rose 3.5 percent on improving same-store sales. Net income slipped 2.3 percent to $144.4 million for its fiscal third quarter ended May 6, from $147.8 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings rose to $1.89 from $1.86 ...
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