Advance Auto Parts, Inc. has announced today that it achieved 3.1% comparable store sales growth in its fourth quarter ended December 28, 2002 compared to 5.2% in the previous year. The company reported that do-it-yourself business grew by 2.7% and the do-it-for-me or commercial business grew by 5.3%. For the year, the company achieved same-store-sales gains of 5.5% compared to 6.2% last year. This was despite lower than anticipated sales, achieving this performance with improved gross margins and leveraging its expenses. The company says it anticipates reporting earnings per diluted share at the top end of its previously announced guidance range of $0.38 to $0.42, compared to $0.16 last year. All figures in U.S. funds. These results include approximately $0.03 per diluted share of expenses associated with the recently completed secondary offering and exclude approximately $0.15 per diluted share of expenses associated with the integration of Discount Auto Parts and an extraordinary loss of approximately $0.05 per diluted share related to the early extinguishment of debt. Advance Auto Parts reiterated its 2003 fiscal year guidance for a 25% increase in earnings per diluted share, before integration expense and a potential bond refinancing, coming from solid comparable store sales growth, increased operating margins, and reduced interest expense. The company says it expects to generate substantial free cash flow of approximately $150 million in 2003. “Our team members produced solid results despite tough weather conditions and disruptions caused by the Discount Auto Parts’ conversion process in the Florida markets,” commented Larry Castellani, chief executive officer of Advance Auto Parts.