Advance Auto Parts’ (AAP) third-quarter net income grew 18.3% as sales rose, according to Dow Jones.

The auto parts retailer reportedly raised its 2005 earnings guidance while backing its fourth-quarter earnings outlook.

Dow Jones said the company said earned US$60.8m, or 55 cents a share, in the quarter ended 8 October, up from $51.4m, or 45 cents a share, a year ago.

The latest per-share earnings reportedly matches Thomson First Call’s mean analyst estimate, as well as the high end of Advance Auto’s own 10 August guidance.

On a basic per-share basis, Advance Auto earned 56 cents in the quarter, up from 46 cents a year ago.

Third-quarter sales rose 14.6% to $1.02 billion from $890.2m, beating First Call’s mean analyst estimate of $1.01 billion, Dow Jones said.

Advance Auto Parts reportedly said same-store sales, which adjust for store openings, rose 10% in the quarter. At the do-it-for-me segment, same-store sales rose 26.5% in the quarter.

Dow Jopnes added that, in the year to date, the company has closed six stores and added 183, including 121 in the third quarter. Of the quarter’s new stores, 80 were bought.

For the fourth quarter, Advance Auto Parts backed its prior per-share earnings forecast of 33 cents to 36 cents, compared with First Call’s mean analyst estimate of 36 cents, the report added.