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Advance Auto 3Q Profit Rises 10% On Strong Sales To Shops >AAP

Advance Auto Parts

Advance Auto 3Q Profit Rises

Advance Auto Parts Inc.’s (AAP) fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 10% as the company recorded strong growth in sales to commercial repair shops.

Despite the travails of the automotive market, the recession hasn’t thrown a wrench into auto-parts retailers’ operations as consumers hold on to their cars longer, but there have been signs recently that sales are slowing for the sector.

The second-largest U.S. auto-parts retailer after AutoZone Inc. (AZO) reported earnings of $62 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with $56.2 million, or 58 cents a share, a year earlier. The latest quarter included 4 cents in store-divestiture charges.

Sales for the period ended Oct. 10 climbed 6.3% to $1.26 billion.

Analysts estimated adjusted earnings of 66 cents on revenue of $1.26 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Same-store sales rose 4.7%, or 5.2% adjusting for an extra week last year. The figure was up 1.7% for do-it-yourself customers and 11.8% for commercial repair shops.

Gross margin widened to 49.2% from 47.3%.

During the third quarter, Advance opened 24 stores and closed 13, bringing the Oct. 10 total to 3,418. So far this year, the company has closed 36 stores, resulting in a total charge of 15 cents a share. The company still expects the costs of shedding 40 to 55 stores to reach 15 cents to 22 cents a share by the end of the fiscal year.

In after-hours trading, Advance shares were down 2.5% at $39.29. The stock has pulled back from its 52-week high of $47.41 at the end of July but is still up two-thirds over the past year.

By Jay Miller, Dow Jones Newswires

Rating: ★★★☆

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