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Pep Boys reports first annual profit in 5 years


Philadelphia Pep Boys-Manny Moe & Jack reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit on cost-cutting and margin controls despite soft holiday sales, and it posted its first annual profit since 2005.

"While we did not enjoy a comparable-store sales increase in the fourth quarter, we did achieve customer count increases in both service and commercial," said CEO Mike Odell.

In the current quarter, same-store sales are up 3%.

Pep Boys opened five such centers in the fourth quarter for a 2009 total of 24. It also opened one Supercenter in the latest quarter.

Pep Boys, which hadn't posted an annual profit since 2005, swung to a third-quarter profit and reported its first same-store sales increase in almost three years in December, though the company noted continuing problems from consumers' tightened spending. Its turnaround efforts have been gaining traction, helped by cost cutting and drivers keeping cars longer during the recession.

For the quarter ended Jan. 30, Pep Boys reported a profit of $2.3 million, compared with a year-earlier loss of $33.3 million.

The latest results included a $1.2 million tax benefit. The prior-year quarter included a net charge of $14.2 million in write-downs and other items.

Revenue slid 2.7% to $452.9 million, and same-store sales decreased 3.9%. For the year, the company posted a profit of $23 million, compared with a loss of $30.4 million in 2008.

Pep Boys has more than 580 stores and 6,000 service bays in 35 states and Puerto Rico.

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