President at Genuine Parts
Thank you, Paul. Good morning, everyone. I also would like to thank the global GPC teams, as well as our supplier partners for their ongoing commitment to serving our customers. We appreciate the collective focus and hard work to deliver great results around the world. During the third quarter, we continued to deliver strong results across both our Automotive and Industrial businesses. Our results were driven by solid team execution and disciplined focus on strategic initiatives, which are aligned around our five foundational priorities, talent and culture, sales effectiveness, technology, supply chain, and emerging technology.
Turning to the performance by segment, total sales for Global Automotive were $3.5 billion in the third quarter, an increase of approximately $285 million or 8.9% versus the same period last year. Our sales performance was relatively consistent in all three months of the quarter, and on a comparable basis, sales growth for the quarter increased 9.2%.
Our global teams delivered mid-single-digit to mid-teens comp growth across each of our operations. And as Paul mentioned, the Automotive segment continues to be driven by solid industry fundamentals and strong team execution. Global Automotive segment profit was $309 million and segment operating margin was 8.9%, an increase of 10 basis points versus the same period last year. This performance reflects strong sales growth and operating expense leverage.
During the third quarter, our Automotive business experienced high single-digit levels of inflation, relatively consistent with the levels we saw in the second quarter. The pricing environment remains rational, and we're pleased with the ongoing positive impact of our strategic category management initiatives. We expect sales inflation in the fourth quarter to be largely consistent with the third quarter.
Now let's turn to an overview of our Automotive businesses by geography. In the U.S., Automotive sales grew approximately 11% during the quarter, with comparable sales growth of approximately 8%. Sales were solid across each U.S. region and broadly across product categories, with brakes, filters, fluids and batteries all posting double-digit increases in the quarter. We continue to be pleased with market share growth within the majority of our categories.
Sales to both commercial and retail customers were positive with low double-digit commercial growth outpacing retail, which had low to mid single-digit growth. Our commercial business saw broad-based strength across all customer segments. Digital channels across all customers also performed well with high single-digit sales growth during the third quarter, reflecting continued traction from investments in our omnichannel experience. U.S. Automotive initiatives are advancing well with continued progress in talent, technology investments, customer segmentation analytics, pricing capabilities and emerging tech.
During the quarter, the U.S. Automotive team formally realigned team resources to establish a centralized project management office to coordinate and drive impact of its business initiative portfolio. As an example of emerging tech efforts, the U.S. Automotive team hosted its first-ever EV Day in Atlanta, which included teammates and representatives from various strategic emerging tech partners.
We use this opportunity to update internal teammates and collaborate with our electric vehicle and emerging technology suppliers. In addition, as another example of our emerging tech focus, Motion recently established a new electric vehicle battery customer segment based on increasing opportunities presented by the build-out of new battery manufacturing facilities across North America.
We continue to build momentum with our EV efforts as we leverage our global footprint, business mix and scale to extend our emerging tech leadership position. In Canada, sales grew approximately 15% in local currency during the third quarter with comparable sales growth of 13%. The strong results in Canada are reflective of solid industry fundamentals, team execution and market share gains.
As examples of sales effectiveness and data and technology initiatives, Canada continues to improve the customer experience and simplify its business processes with advanced analytics and business intelligence tools. This micro market visibility has increased wallet share and identified growth opportunities as the team executes both organic and inorganic growth initiatives.
In Europe, our Automotive team delivered another strong quarter, with total sales increasing approximately 20% in local currency and comparable sales up 7%. Growth in Europe is a result of the continued focus on its strategic initiatives, including growth with key customer accounts, the rollout of the NAPA brand across the region and investments in our people, technology and supply chain capabilities.
In addition, our bolt-on acquisition efforts continue to create value and add to our local market coverage. Our recent acquisitions in Germany, Spain and Portugal are tracking well with integration plans and the performance and synergy capture has exceeded our internal expectations. Overall, we believe our European strategies have resulted in solid market share gains.
In the Asia Pac Automotive business, sales in the third quarter increased approximately 16% in local currency from last year with comparable sales growth of 14%. Both commercial and retail sales performed well with Repco, NAPA and our Motorcycle Accessories division, all delivering strong profitable growth.
Next month, our Australian and New Zealand team will celebrate Repco's 100-year anniversary, which is a testament to the power of the brand, differentiated customer value proposition and Repco's position as the leading Automotive aftermarket business in the market. Congratulations to our teammates down under on achieving this incredible milestone.
Turning to the Global Industrial segment. During the third quarter, total sales at Motion were $2.2 billion, an increase of approximately $570 million or 35.3%. The sales cadence was consistently strong throughout the quarter and comparable sales, which exclude the benefit of KDG, increased approximately 20% versus last year. This marks our sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit comparable sales growth. The growth was consistent across almost all product categories and major industries served with particular strength coming from industries such as food, chemicals, aggregate and cement, mining and oil and gas.
Industrial segment profit was $243 million or 11.1% of sales, representing an 80 basis point increase from the same period last year and a new record for the Industrial segment. The improvement is a result of Motion's strong sales growth and disciplined operating performance, including the KDG synergy realization. For the third quarter, inflation in the Industrial segment held in the low single-digit range, consistent with the levels we've seen throughout the year.
Key initiatives contributing to the strong performance in the Industrial business include sales programs to capture organic profitable share of wallet with target accounts, data-driven strategic pricing and sourcing programs, technology investments to enhance the omnichannel experience and continued ongoing inventory productivity and footprint optimization initiatives. As an example of footprint optimization efforts, Motion successfully executed its initial fulfillment center and branch optimization initiative in Florida, which is designed to improve the customer experience by offering next-day delivery for an order placed by 3 P.M. In addition to an improved customer experience, the strategy reduces duplicative inventory position, increases available product breadth and increases the efficiency and reduces the cost of our last mile delivery logistics.
In addition, Motion opened two new strategically located facilities to grow its value-added automation services with existing and new customers. We're pleased with the initiative results and Motion will continue to methodically roll out these strategies nationwide over time. In addition, the integration of KDG continues to exceed our expectations. The teams are executing well-defined plans with customers, suppliers and teammates to deliver growth and create value as a combined organization. All major workstreams are at or ahead of plan, including the colocation and merging of overlapping branches, and we're excited for the continued growth opportunities at Motion.
Lastly, during the quarter, we were pleased to formally open the GPC Global Technology Center based in Krakow, Poland. As part of our strategic investments in talent and technology, the center is designed to help accelerate our technology initiatives and capability building. The technology center will serve as an integrated extension of our existing global team and will focus on areas such as digital, supply chain, data platforms, pricing and cybersecurity as a few examples.
With nearly 1 million people living in Krakow and approximately 200,000 students, Krakow is a global hub for next-generation tech balance. As we move forward, we'll consider technology roles in Krakow to leverage our scale, build capabilities and deliver faster path to value for global technology initiatives. As we execute our organic growth initiatives, we continue to complement them with strategic bolt-on acquisitions to capture share in our fragmented markets and create value.
During the third quarter, we completed several bolt-on acquisitions primarily consisting of small automotive store groups that increased local market density in key geographies. The M&A pipeline continues to be active, and we will remain disciplined to pursue transactions that advance our strategy, deliver profitable growth and create long-term value.
In summary, our strong third quarter and year-to-date results are being driven by supportive industry fundamentals and our key strategic initiatives. While the macro environment remains dynamic, our teams will prioritize our customers as we analyze our market and performance indicators, remain agile and strategically invest with discipline in initiatives that extend our global leadership position.
With that, I'll turn the call over to Bert.