Advance Auto Parts 3Q profit falls on weaker sales

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 10:30 am •  Published: November 8, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Advance Auto Parts said Thursday that its third-quarter net income fell about 15 percent as sales dipped and it spent more money to attract customers.

The Roanoke, Va., seller of auto parts and batteries said it earned $89.5 million, or $1.21 per share, for the quarter ended Oct. 6, down from $105.5 million, or $1.41 per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell less than one percent to $1.46 billion.

Revenue at stores open at least a year decreased nearly 2 percent. That's an important measure for retailers because it excludes results from newly opened or closed stores.

The results matched previous third-quarter guidance provided by the company last month.

Its shares rose 49 cents to $80.25 in morning trading Thursday.

Advance Auto Parts faced "weak consumer demand" in both do-it-yourself and commercial sales, CEO Darren R. Jackson said in a conference call with investors.

Jackson said volatility in gas prices played a role in consumer spending during the quarter. It also experienced softer sales in cold-weather markets.

The company expects that the auto parts industry will remain soft for the remainder of the year, but remains encouraged by long-term industry fundamentals.

Executives also declined to comment on media reports that Advance Auto Parts has hired private equity firm Blackstone to facilitate a sale of the company and that at least three private equity firms were exploring possible bids.

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