Advance Auto Parts has announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 28, 2019.
“Advance once again delivered another quarter of net sales growth along with an acceleration of adjusted operating income growth amidst a challenging demand environment in Q4. Although sales growth was below our expectations, we grew adjusted operating margin by 106 basis points, which reinforces our team’s commitment to delivering continuous, incremental improvement on the substantial margin expansion opportunity we have. In addition, our entire Advance team, including our network of Independent Carquest Partners, delivered net sales growth for the second consecutive year, which enabled us to make excellent progress on our long-term objectives,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO. “In particular, we ramped up investment in supply chain, e-commerce and technology, which will strengthen our customer value proposition in the future.”
Net sales for the fourth quarter 2019 were $2.1 billion, a 0.4% increase versus the fourth quarter of the prior year. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter 2019 increased 0.1%. For the full year 2019, net sales were $9.7 billion, an increase of 1.3% from the full year 2018. Comparable store sales for the full year 2019 increased 1.1%.
The company’s adjusted operating income was $149.9 million in the fourth quarter 2019, an increase of 18% versus the fourth quarter of the prior year. Adjusted operating income margin improved to 7.1% of net sales for the fourth quarter 2019, an increase of 106 basis points compared to the fourth quarter of the prior year. For full year 2019, adjusted operating income was $795 million, an increase of 6% from the full year 2018.
The company’s adjusted diluted EPS was $1.64 for the fourth quarter 2019, an increase of 40.2% compared to the same quarter in the prior year. The company’s adjusted diluted EPS was $8.19 for the full year 2019, an increase of 14.9% versus the full year 2018.
Operating cash flow was $866.9 million for the full year 2019 versus $811 million for the full year 2018, an increase of 6.9%. Free cash flow for the full year 2019 was $596.8 million, a decrease of 3.3% compared to the full year 2018.
“We remain disciplined in our approach to executing on our strategic objectives and meeting our financial priorities in 2020. We know that we have continued work ahead of us but have a dedicated team in place to continue the momentum to drive customer and shareholder value. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce our current year outlook, which is inclusive of the 53rd week we have in our fiscal year 2020,” said Jeff Shepherd, executive vice president and chief financial officer.