What’s Driving Advance Auto Parts Earnings

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Advance Auto Parts Inc. (NYSE: AAP) released its third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Tuesday. The auto parts retailer said that it had $1.89 in earnings per share (EPS) and $2.27 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates that called for $1.75 in EPS and $2.23 billion in revenue, as well as the $1.43 per share and $2.18 billion reported in the same period of last year.

During the most recent quarter, comparable store sales increased by 4.6% year over year. Year to date, comparable store sales have increased by only 2.0%.

Looking ahead to the 2018 full year, the company expects to see revenues in the range of $9.55 billion to $9.60 billion, up from the previous range of $9.30 billion to $9.50 billion. Consensus estimates call for $6.95 in EPS and $9.49 billion in revenue for the year.

Earlier this quarter, the board of directors authorized a $600 million share repurchase plan. The firm exercised about $119.9 million of it in the quarter, leaving $480.1 million remaining in the authorization going forward.

Tom Greco, president and CEO, commented:

I am extremely pleased to report another quarter of improved top and bottom line growth in the third quarter. Through the dedication of our Team Members and our unrelenting focus on enhancing our Customer Value Proposition, we delivered our strongest comparable sales growth in nearly eight years. In addition, through the disciplined execution of our financial priorities we increased our Free cash flow by 140% and returned $120 million to our shareholders through share repurchases.

Shares of Advance Auto Parts closed Monday at $167.06, in a 52-week range of $88.24 to $174.71. The consensus analyst price target is $176.47. Following the announcement, the stock was up 5% at $175.30 in early trading indications Tuesday.