#aftermarket – Advance Auto Parts, Inc. has announced its financial results for the first quarter ended April 25, 2015. First quarter comparable cash earnings per diluted share (Comparable Cash EPS) were $2.39, an increase of 6.2% versus the first quarter last year. These first quarter comparable results exclude $0.11 of amortization of acquired intangible assets and integration costs of $0.28 primarily associated with the acquisition of General Parts International, Inc. (General Parts).
“I would like to thank all our Team Members for their hard work during the first quarter of 2015,” said Darren R. Jackson, chief executive officer. “As we enter our second year of the General Parts integration, we remain very confident with the growth, service and earnings potential of the combined companies. We have undertaken the industry’s largest acquisition and just completed our heaviest quarter of integration activities to-date. Our first quarter comparable store sales increased 0.7% and Comparable Cash EPS grew 6.2% to $2.39. While these results did not meet our high expectations, we remain confident in our integration plan and are focused on executing the foundational work necessary to deliver the full potential of the combination. ”
First Quarter 2015 Highlights
Total sales for the first quarter increased 2.3% to $3.04 billion, as compared with total sales during the first quarter of fiscal 2014 of $2.97 billion. The sales increase was driven by the addition of new stores over the past 12 months and a comparable store sales increase of 0.7%. Our sales were unfavorably impacted primarily from integration activities and unfavorable weather.
The Company’s Gross Profit rate was 45.9% of sales during the first quarter as compared to 45.6% during the first quarter last year. The 31 basis-point increase in gross profit rate was primarily due to achieved merchandise cost synergies partially offset by the costs from our new Hartford, CT distribution center, which opened in late 2014.
The Company’s Comparable SG&A rate was 35.7% of sales during the first quarter as compared to 36.0% during the same period last year. The 26 basis-point decrease was primarily the result of achieved cost synergies and lower incentive compensation partially offset by slightly higher advertising expenses. On a GAAP basis, the Company’s SG&A rate was 37.2% of sales during the first quarter as compared to 37.0% during the same period last year.
The Company’s Comparable Operating Income was $308.3 million during the first quarter, an increase of 8.4% versus the first quarter of fiscal 2014. As a percentage of sales, Comparable Operating Income in the first quarter was 10.1% compared to 9.6% during the first quarter of fiscal 2014. On a GAAP basis, the Company’s operating income during the first quarter of $262.5 million increased 2.6% versus the first quarter of fiscal 2014. On a GAAP basis, the Operating Income rate was 8.6% during the first quarter as compared to 8.6% during the first quarter of fiscal 2014.
Operating cash flow increased approximately 26.0% to $102.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 from $81.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Free cash flow increased to $45.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 from $20.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Capital expenditures in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 were $57.0 million as compared to $60.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2014.