Advance Auto raises profit

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Advance Auto Stores’ fourth-quarter net income rose 41 percent but it missed analyst expectations.

The Roanoke company’s profit increased despite closing 45 stores during the quarter. For the quarter, it had a profit of $34.5 million, compared with $24.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2008.

“While our fourth quarter financial performance did not meet our expectations, we believe it is a short-term setback versus a long-term trend” Darren R. Jackson, Advance Auto’s CEO said in a statement.

Net sales during the quarter fell 4 percent during the quarter to $1.14 billion, compared with $1.19 billion during the fourth quarter of the previous year. When excluding stores that were closed in 2009, sales rose 4 percent.

During the quarter, Advance Auto saw a 9.5 percent increase in commercial sales at its existing stores, but a 0.8 percent decrease in the do-it-yourself category.

For the year, sales rose 5.3 percent to $5.4 billion and profit rose 13.6 percent to $238 million.

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