ATLANTA — Genuine Parts Co., parent of NAPA Auto Parts, boosted net income 1.3 percent to $160.2 million on a 4.8-percent increase in sales to $3.91 billion during the quarter ended March 31.
"We are pleased that our total sales increase in the first quarter of 2017 represents positive sequential sales improvement and is our strongest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2014," GPC President and CEO Paul Donahue said.
"As a diversified global distributor, we benefited from strong total sales growth in our international automotive, industrial, electrical and office operations. The strength in these areas was partially offset by the headwinds in our U.S. automotive business, which we are working to overcome."
The Automotive Group — GPC's largest division, which includes NAPA — suffered a 1.3-percent drop in operating earnings to $151.8 million despite a 3.3-percent increase in sales to about $2 billion.
GPC, which distributes automotive replacement parts in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Australasia, said it expects sales to increase 3 to 4 percent for the full year, which is unchanged from its initial guidance, and is raising its outlook for diluted earnings per share to $4.75 to $4.85 compared with the initial outlook of $4.70 to $4.80.
GPC also announced the pending retirement of Thomas C. Gallagher as executive chairman, effective June 30. He will continue to serve as non-executive chairman of the board following his retirement.
"On behalf of the entire organization, we want to thank Tom for his 47 years of dedicated service to the company. Tom positively influenced every aspect of the organization during his exceptional career and his leadership as president from 1990 to January 2012 and CEO from 2004 to May 2016 guided our significant growth over this period," Mr. Donahue said.
"Tom has also served as our chairman since 2005 and we look forward to his continued counsel as non-executive chairman following his retirement."