It was yet another fair but uninspiring quarter for Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP). Although sales and earnings were modestly higher, the growth it wants to see just hasn't been there for some time. Management recognizes this fact and has plans to inject a new level of growth into its results.

In the first quarter, Advance Auto increased earnings by 2.7% to $76.1 million, or $0.71 per share. Sales looked better, increasing 5.4%, but comps were just 1.1% higher in the quarter.

I imagine most companies would be feeling pretty good about those results and the fact that they were in line with estimates, but not Advance Auto. I respect the fact that management at Advance Auto isn't kicking back, feeling satisfied with its performance. Instead, it actually sounded quite frustrated, particularly about not being able to generate stronger comps growth. It knows it faces stiff competition from the likes of O'Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY) and AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) and has to be more aggressive about cutting costs and accelerating sales growth. Plans include using a less expensive remodeling program, remodeling fewer stores, and opening fewer locations.

With these plans in place, Advance Auto reiterated its outlook, projecting earnings of $0.65 to $0.69 per share in the second quarter and $2.38 to $2.48 for the full year. These numbers are in line with analysts' estimates and would represent annual growth of 10% to 15%. It also left its expected comps growth of low single digits for the quarter and year unchanged.

My question is, if the company is cutting costs and making the other changes it expects will improve these figures, when exactly does it expect to benefit from these initiatives? However, I may be willing to give management the benefit of the doubt and give it some time for its improvements to generate higher results. Considering its hefty free cash flow balance, its fair valuation, and perhaps most importantly, management's attitude of working hard at improving already decent results, I think Advance Auto will certainly reward investors in the long run.

For more on what Advance Autos advances, check out:

AutoZone is a former Inside Value recommendation.

Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo welcomes feedback and doesn't own any of the companies in this article.