ROANOKE, Va. (May 24, 2013) — Automotive aftermarket parts retailer Advance Auto Parts Inc. suffered an 8.8-percent drop in earnings in the quarter ended April 20 despite a 2.9-percent increase in sales to $2.02 billion.
Advance attributed the earnings drop, to $121.8 million, to increased operating costs related to "expense deleverage" tied to a 3.2-percent decline in comparable store sales and new store openings. Operating income fell 9.1 percent to $204.1 million.
"During the first quarter, as anticipated, our business continued to be constrained by the unseasonably warm weather last year, which had deferred the maintenance on vehicles," said CEO Darren R. Jackson.
"Additionally, due to the impact of payroll tax increases on our core consumer, delayed income tax refunds and a very slow start to the spring selling season, our business was softer than anticipated with our comp store sales declining 3.2 percent.
"However, we had our best performance the last two weeks of our first quarter. During that period we saw our first week of positive transaction growth and strength across our major categories. We are encouraged by the fact that we have continued to generate positive comp store sales growth so far through our second quarter. This is a clear sign that our market remains strong and consumers still have a willingness to invest in reliable transportation."
The chain added 163 stores over the past 12 months, including 124 from its acquisition of B.W.P. Distributors Inc. in January. The company's store count as of April 20 was 3,969, including 223 Autopart International stores.