RICHMOND, VA – CarMax Inc., the used-car chain, said profit for its latest quarter dropped 5 percent as surging sales failed to offset rising costs. However, the company's shares rose sharply after it said sales trends have improved noticeably since the summer's hurricanes.

The latest results were in line with Wall Street's diminished estimates. Sales for the latest quarter rose to $1.22 billion from $1.07 billion a year earlier. Sales at dealerships open at least a year rose 2 percent.

CarMax struggled with a volatile used-car sales market in its fiscal second quarter after the late-August hurricane in the Southeast. It said sales trends have improved since September. "Used car sales trends in the (third) quarter, though not robust, were better than we experienced in the late spring and summer," President and Chief Executive Officer Austin Ligon said.

However, the increase in sales was offset in part by the cost of providing subprime financing, which the company began making available throughout its stores in August, Ligon said.