Throughout mid-2008 U.S. auto sales reached 16 year lows as consumers spent less in the face of recessionary pressures and credit was withheld for all except the most qualified borrowers. As people wait longer to replace their automobiles, the country's fleet of cars becomes older, requiring more maintenance and replacement parts. AutoZone is well positioned to take advantage of this increased demand for parts, especially as drivers are less likely to take older cars to dealerships for maintenance, but rather do it themselves, or bring the car and necessary parts to an independent garage.
AZO announced recently that it would include an app that would allow users to access free vehicle repair guides via iPhone. This definitely will come to the benefit of consumers as iPhone users have WiFi which will allow them to find ways to fix cars on the road. On the other hand, this will benefit AZO because AZO's app is spearheading the way to mobile shop via iPhone in such situations.
Arkansas has joined the list of states adopting AZO's contract under the U.S. Communities Group Cooperative Purchasing Alliance in Aug 2009, which will offer all State Agencies the ability of improving purchasing efficiency through the state, which will allow for cost savings provided under all products deemed under the contract.
AZO's use of Z-net, its electronic tracking system, allows AZO to look up parts required by customers faster and more efficient. More importantly, Z-nest allows AZO to provide and track all inventories available in the company's stores, so that it could be easily shipped from store-to-store if needed. This allows for faster customer service and increase in inventory turnover.
One of the more accomplished investors of our time, Eddie Lampert of Sears Holdings, disclosed on April 10th, 2008 that he recently bought more stocks of the company to bring his tally to 22.3 million shares or 36%. This would be a definite vote of confidence from a successful investor, who thinks this is a good bet.