~ First Quarter Sales Up 5.5% to a Record $217.5 Million ~ ~ First Quarter Net Income Up 25% to a Record $16.9 Million ~ ~ First Quarter EPS Increases 24% to a Record $0.52 versus $0.42 for the Same Period Last Year ~ ~ Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire 35 Stores in Florida ~ ROCHESTER, N.Y., July 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Monro Muffler Brake, Inc. (Nasdaq:MNRO), a leading provider of automotive undercar repair and tire services, today announced financial results for its first quarter ended June 28, 2014. First Quarter Results Sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 increased 5.5% to $217.5 million as compared to $206.2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2014. The total sales increase for the first quarter of $11.3 million was due to an increase in sales from new stores of $11.2 million, including sales from recently acquired stores of $9.9 million, and a comparable store sales increase of approximately 1%. Comparable store sales increased approximately 9% for brakes, 8% for alignments, 6% for front end/shocks, and 1% for exhaust, while comparable store sales were slightly positive for maintenance services and decreased approximately 3% for tires. Gross margin increased to 41.4% in the first quarter from 38.3% in the prior year, largely due to the benefit of lower material costs. Total operating expenses were $60.6 million, or 27.9% of sales, as compared with $55.8 million, or 27.1% of sales, for the same period of the prior year. The increase in operating expenses reflects a full quarter of costs for fiscal 2014 acquired stores and the transaction costs associated with Monro's fiscal 2015 acquisitions. Operating income for the quarter increased 27.3% to $29.4 million from $23.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Interest expense was $2.1 million as compared to $1.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.