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Advance Auto winning in hot retail sector

Advance Auto Parts demonstrated strength in its second quarter performance in one of the retail industry’s hottest sectors.

The company said its sales increased 51.5% to $2.35 billion, reflecting the inclusion of the acquired General Parts business. Same store sale increased 2.6%. The operator of 5,289 stores said profits on an adjusted basis to account for non-recurring acquisition related costs for the second quarter ended July 12 increased to $153.2 million, or $2.08 a share, compared to $117.7 million, or $1.60 a share. The improvement came despite the fact that gross margins contracted to 45.2% of sales from 50.3% of sales as commercial customers accounted for a larger portion of Advance Auto’s overall business.

"We are pleased with our second quarter performance led by strong execution from our team members delivering comparable cash EPS growth of 30% and an increase in comparable store sales of 2.6% in the quarter," said Advance CEO Darren Jackson. "We remain on pace against our base business expectations, integration milestones and with our financial performance.”

CFO Mike Norona said the favorable second quarter sales performance and synergy savings related to the merger would allow the company to exceed earlier earnings estimates.

“We are pleased with the continued progress made during our second quarter delivering positive sales performance and approximately 34% growth in Comparable Operating Income dollars,” said Mike Norona, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

“We continue to stay focused on our base business while meeting our integration milestones to date and remain confident in achieving our full year synergy estimates,” Norona said. Given our performance in the first half of the year and the execution and integration momentum we continue to build, we are raising our full year guidance for comparable cash EPS to be in the range of $7.50 to $7.60.”

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