Why Advance Auto Parts Inc. Shares Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our thesis.

What: Shares of Advance Auto Parts (NYSE: AAP  ) were revving higher today, moving up as much as 15% after a strong fourth-quarter earnings report.

So what: The auto-parts retailer flew past earnings estimates, posting a per-share profit of $0.94, ahead of the consensus at $0.81, though revenue missed the mark as sales grew 6%, to 1.41 billion, against estimates of $1.43. Comparable sales also returned positive, hitting 0.1%, up from -1.9% a year ago. The acquisition of BWP and new store openings drove the sales increase, and the more recent acquisition of General Parts also provides a new growth avenue. Commenting on the purchase, CEO Darren Jackson called it "another strategic step forward for our great company positioning Advance as the largest parts provider in North America with considerable sales growth and earnings opportunities."

Now what: Guidance for the coming year was also better than expected, as the company sees EPS of $7.20-$7.40, better than estimates of $7.09. Meanwhile, it projected same-store sales of flat to low single digits, but will open another 120 to 140 stores, which should keep driving top-line sales. The auto-parts retail industry is unlikely to generate huge growth, but Advance's acquisition and expansion strategy seems to be the right fit.

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