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O’Reilly Auto’s yearly profits rise

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During a year when O’Reilly Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: ORLY) hit store growth goals and completed an acquisition, the Springfield-based company also improved its net income.

The auto parts retailer posted 2018 earnings of $1.3 billion, a 16.8 percent increase from $1.1 billion in 2017. Diluted share earnings rose to $16.10 from $12.67 per share a year earlier, according to a news release.

“We achieved our goal of opening 200 net, new stores across 36 states in 2018 and are very well positioned to continue our profitable store growth in 2019. On Nov. 13, 2018, we announced the signing of an asset purchase agreement with Bennett Auto Supply, and we are very happy to report that we closed this acquisition after the close of business on Dec. 31, 2018,” O’Reilly Auto CEO and co-President Greg Johnson said in the release.

Johnson added for 2019, the company likely would finish on the lower end of its forecast of 200-210 new stores as it works in the fourth quarter to convert the Bennett stores. O’Reilly Automotive ended the fourth quarter with 5,219 stores in 47 states, not including the 33 stores operated by Pompano Beach, Florida-based Bennett Auto Supply Inc.

Full-year financial notes:
• Sales grew 6.2 percent to $9.5 billion. Revenue of $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter was on par with Wall Street forecasts.
• Comparable store sales rose by 3.8 percent in 2018, above the 1.4 percent increase from 2017.
• The company repurchased roughly $1.7 billion worth of its shares.

For 2019, O’Reilly Automotive expects earnings of $17.37 to $17.47 per share.

As of Dec. 31, O’Reilly Automotive’s assets were $8 billion, according to the release.

ORLY shares were trading at $358.70 as of 9:31 a.m., compared with a 52-week range of $217.64 to $366.18.

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