Citing a hefty boost in its automotive-repairs business, the Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack said today that sales and profits were up during the third quarter, which ended Oct. 31.

Sales at service centers open at least a year were up 7 percent, including the value of labor and parts used by automotive technicians at the 580-store chain headquartered in Philadelphia.

Total revenue for the quarter, including merchandise sales, reached $472.6 million - an increase of 1.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

Net profits also were up $2.1 million (4 cents per share) compared with a $7.3 million loss a year ago (14 cents per share), the company said. Those results reflect a $3.3 million asset impairment charge that was partially offset by a $1.3 million gain from sale leasebacks.

Sales at stores open a year or more, known as comparable store sales and considered an important measure of health, were up 1.6 percent overall. That marked the first quarterly increase since 2006, said chief executive officer Mike Odell. Customer counts were also up for the first time since 2004, he said.    - Maria Panaritis