April 29, 2021 at 02:55PM

O’Reilly Automotive, one of the country’s largest auto parts retailers, said demand led to the best same-store sales growth in the company’s 64-year history. Despite the pandemic and extreme weather in some parts of the country, sales for the first quarter (ending March 31) increased by $614 million (25 percent) to reach $3.09 billion, from $2.48 billion for the same period a year ago.

First-quarter same-store sales increased by 24.8 percent, proving that the pandemic didn’t keep people away. Q1 comparable store sales were calculated on the change in sales for U.S. stores that were open at least one year, excluding sales of specialty machinery, sales to independent parts stores and sales to employees, as well as Leap Year sales. Online sales resulting from ship-to-home orders and pick-up-in-store sales were included.

O’Reilly also reported strong income, pointing out that net income for the first quarter increased $201 million, or 67 percent, to $502 million. Diluted earnings had a large increase of 78 percent to $7.06 on 71 million shares compared to $3.97 on 76 million shares.

The company reported that it still anticipates potentially significant volatility in its results, driven by uncertainty related to COVID.

During the first quarter, O’Reilly repurchased 1.5 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $450.65. In total, the company has repurchased 82.5 million shares at an average price of $181.02 since it began its Share Repurchase Program in 2011.

O’Reilly didn’t wait for the pandemic to upgrade its omnichannel platform. As PYMNTS reported, five years ago, the retailer signed a deal with Broadleaf Commerce to bring it to the next level, said Jeff Lauro, senior VP of information sales at O’Reilly. Lauro said O’Reilly sought out a company’s abilities to handle the selling and shipping of often cumbersome auto parts.

O’Reilly Automotive was founded by the O’Reilly family in 1957, and is one of the largest specialty retailers of aftermarket parts, tools supplies, equipment and accessories in the U.S.

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