Monro Muffler Brake Inc. reported record third quarter sales of $90.2 million, up 12 percent from last year with 15-percent higher comparable store tire service sales.
Comparable store sales overall grew 4.7 percent. Comparable sales for maintenance services grew 9 percent, and sales from new stores added $6.7 million in the quarter.
Net income also hit a quarterly record at $4.1 million, up 15.4 percent from $3.5 million last year. Gross margin, however, fell slightly to 38.7 percent from 39.3 percent, primarily from the shift in sales mix to lower margin tires plus the increase in the cost of oil.
Monro opened three new stores in the quarter and closed three others, leaving the automotive service chain with 625 outlets at the end of the period.
For the nine-month period, Monro reported net sales of $280.5 million, up 9.4 percent. Net income grew 14.9 percent to $19.4 million.
``We are excited that we were able to deliver another quarter of record results, even as our customers remain cautious,'' said Robert Gross, president and CEO of Rochester-based Monro. ``Our tire and maintenance service categories, which are increasingly important to our business, contributed to the double-digit top line gains in the quarter.''
Mr. Gross also said Monro plans to purchase the remaining 87-percent share in Strauss Discount Auto by March 31. In November, Monro bought a 13-percent stake in R&S Parts and Service Inc., a privately owned auto parts and service chain that operates 101 outlets as Strauss Discount Auto.
That deal, for about $2 million, included the option for Monro to eventually buy 100 percent of the company. The companies previously said Monro could buy an additional 20-percent stake for a cash payment of $3 million, followed by the remaining 67 percent for $9 million cash plus $1 million in Monro stock.