One unusual after-affect of the Great Recession has been a boom for automotive parts stores. In a credit crunch, people are less likely to make big purchases, and more likely to try to keep the cars they’ve got running. According to the National Auto Dealers Association, starting in 2010 the average age of a car on the road went over 10 years for the first time. People are getting more used to working with and maintaining what they’ve got. And in the opinion of O’Reilly Auto Parts CEO George L. Henslee, the boom for auto parts retailers "could be long-lasting, as consumers permanently change their behavior, and gain comfort with driving well-maintained vehicles at higher mileage."
Regardless of the accuracy of Henslee’s forecast, there’s no question that in 2013 American auto parts corporations are thriving. We decided to look at the country’s five largest and see exactly what kind of numbers they’ve been clocking.
In just 33 years this Memphis, Tennessee chain has grown into the largest American auto parts in the country, with a listing on the Fortune 500, over 5000 locations and $8.603 billion in revenue in 2012. Autonzone’s stock is up 19.59 percent YTD to hit $423.88 a share. In just three years, Autozone has gained 111.81 percent.
Advance Auto Parts (AAP)
Trailing behind Autozone is Roanoke, Virginia-based Advanced Auto Parts, with 3800 locations and $5.41 billion in revenue. They’re up 13.32 percent to hit $81.99 a share, and have posted a healthy 59.92 percent gain since 2010.
O’Reilly Auto Parts (ORLY)
This 4100 store, Springfield, Missouri-based chain is one of the fastest growing in the entire country, and with the December 2012 purchase of VIP Parts in New England, is poised to break into one of the last geographic regions they’ve yet to breach. O’Reilly has gained 28.11 percent on the year to hit $114.56 a share, and has jumped up 148.67 percent since 2010.
Genuine Parts Company (GPC)
Owners of the NAPA brand, Genuine Parts is well known for their close association with NASCAR. General Parts has had the biggest gain of the five spotlighted stocks, jumping 30.32 percent YTD to close out at $82.86 a share. They’ve gained an impressive 101.51 percent over the last three years.
The Pep Boys – Manny, Moe & Jack (PBY)
Another fast-growing auto parts retailer, Pep Boys has a relatively paltry 723 locations, but is expanign fast across the country. Their stock is up 18.51 percent to hit $11.65 a share. Their shares spiked to over $15 a share after a buyout rumor circulated in 2012. It’s fizzled back down, though they’ve still gained 25.67 percent in the last three years.
DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer