What happened

Shares of CarParts.com (PRTS 0.92%) moved higher last month after the online auto parts retailer reported a better-than-expected bottom-line result in its third-quarter earnings report. The stock also seemed to benefit from signs that the Federal Reserve could start slowing its interest-rate hikes.

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the stock finished the month up 16%. As the chart below shows, most of the gains came after the company reported earnings on Nov. 9. Those gains also coincided with a cooler-than-expected inflation report, and the stock surged over the next two days.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts.

So what

CarParts.com jumped 18% on Nov. 10 after the company posted strong gross-profit growth in its third-quarter earnings report, and benefited from the cooler-than-expected inflation report that sent the Nasdaq up 7%.

Revenue rose 16% in the third quarter (accelerating from 12% in the second quarter) to $164.6 million, but missed estimates of $168.7 million. However, gross profit, a key metric for the company, jumped 19% to $56.1 million; gross margin improved 70 basis points to 34.1%.

Also showing improvement in profitability, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) jumped from $2.3 million to $6.3 million. On the bottom line, the company posted a loss per share of $0.02, compared to $0.09 in the quarter a year ago, and better than estimates of a loss of $0.06 a share.

The inflation report also gave shares a boost, as growth stocks generally soared on the news. CarParts.com is one of a number of unprofitable e-commerce stocks that have fallen sharply on decelerating growth and on rising interest rates.

The stock jumped another 10% on Nov. 11 on momentum from the earnings report and the inflation report.

Now what

In a difficult environment for e-commerce stocks, CarParts.com is delivering solid growth. And it's experimenting with a new do-it-for-me model, in which the company partners with local mechanics to install parts ordered from CarParts.com.

While the company didn't offer guidance in the most recent report, it said it was taking a more conservative approach to cash management and focusing on growing gross profit, which will give it more money to reinvest in the business.

The good news for CarParts.com is that auto parts tends to be a recession-proof industry: Most auto-parts purchases are needs, not wants. Additionally, in a weak economy consumers are likely to delay purchasing a new car -- meaning that they'll spend more money on auto parts.