Automotive aftermarket chain Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack reported a 48.9-percent increase in earnings for the 13 weeks ended May 4.
The Philadelphia-based tire, parts and auto service retailer said that increased sales, higher merchandise margins and leveraged operating expenses enabled it to attain net profits of $13.6 million for the first quarter vs. the $9.11 million the company recorded for last year's same period.
For the quarter, sales grew by 1.3 percent over last year to $558.9 million. Meanwhile, Pep Boys said comparable store sales-which improved over the course of the quarter-increased 1 percent and included increases of 3 percent and 2 percent in retail merchandise and commercial delivery, respectively. Comparable tire sales and service labor revenue decreased 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
Pep Boys CEO Mitchell G. Leibovitz noted that ``improved sales, higher merchandise margins and leveraged operating expenses enabled us to achieve our sixth consecutive significant increase in quarterly earnings.
``Although tire sales and service labor revenue have been negatively impacted by two (tire) recalls and the recession, aggregate comparable store sales were ahead of plan for the first quarter.''
In line with improving sales over the course of the quarter, Mr. Leibovitz said, in April the company's comparable store sales rose 3 percent and included increases of 3 percent in retail merchandise, 4 percent for commercial delivery and 3 percent in tires, while service labor revenue was unchanged.
``With stable merchandise margins and excellent expense control, a continued improvement in sales should be quite visible in our future results,'' he added.
Pep Boys has 628 stores and more than 6,500 service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico, along with a commercial auto parts delivery operation.