Advance Auto Parts reports 7 percent increase in profit

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New stores and healthy sales at existing outlets helped Advance Auto Parts post a nearly 7 percent increase in profit for the second quarter. 

The Roanoke-based automotive retailer reported sales of $1.32 billion, up from $1.24 billion for the same period a year ago. The increase reflects the addition of 82 new stores over the past year.

The company also saw a bump in comparable-store sales (sales at stores opened at least a year) of 4.8 percent for the quarter, which ended July 18.  That gain included an increase in 14.8 percent for commercial sales and 0.7 percent for do-it-yourself sales. 

Earnings came in at $80.3 million, or 83 cents a share, excluding a charge of 6 cents per share for store divestitures. Those figures are up from $75.4 million, or 78 cents per share a year ago.

Advance Auto closed 20 stores during the quarter and said it plans to close another 40 to 55 unprofitable stores by the end of the year. The company expects to take a 15 to 22 cent per-share charge for fiscal 2009 as a result of its divestiture program.  “Over the last 18 months we have been on a journey to turnaround the company,” CEO Darren R. Jackson said in a statement. “Our focus on our customers, team members, growth and profitability is building the foundation to transform our company …” 

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