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Advance Auto Parts is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia and is now the largest retailer of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States by store count after acquiring General Parts Incorporated in October 2013. AAP was founded in 1932 and had 2015 sales of approximately $9.74 billion. The combined enterprise of AAP (including Carquest branded stores) operates over 5,200 company-owned and 1,300 independently owned stores covering every U.S. state, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Canada with more than 70,000 employees.
In 2005, Advance Auto Parts purchased AutoPart International, Inc. which operates 202 stores along the Atlantic Seaboard. As of 2014, Autopart International still operates as a separate division within Advance Auto.
In 2013, AAP purchased General Parts Inc. including Carquest, Carquest Canada and WorldPac for $2.04 billion.
In April 1932, Arthur Taubman purchased the Advance Stores from Pep Boys, with two stores in Roanoke, Virginia and one in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The first major expansion of Advance Auto Parts was in 1998 when the company acquired the remaining operations of Western Auto, an auto parts and general store retailer. Most of the Western Auto operations had been taken over by Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 1987.
In April 2001, Advance Auto Parts acquired Carport Auto Parts, a regional retail chain with 29 stores in Alabama and Mississippi. On November 28, Advance acquired 671 Discount Auto Parts, Inc., a regional auto parts chain in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana. Upon completion of this merger, Advance Auto Parts became a publicly traded company, listed as a common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AAP. The year ended with 2,484 stores in 38 states.
In July 2002, Advance Auto Parts received bankruptcy court approval to acquire 57 Trak Auto stores in northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and eastern Maryland.
In September 2006, Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP) announced an agreement with ADMMicro, a VA-based company, to retrofit certain existing stores and equip new stores with an Energy Management System (EMS).
From 2010 to 2013, Advance Auto Parts was a title sponsor of Monster Jam and sponsored a truck on the circuit called the Advance Auto Parts Grinder. Advance Auto Parts has also served as a sponsor in NASCAR, including Alex Bowman's cars in 2015 and 2016 with Tommy Baldwin Racing and JR Motorsports, respectively. In 2017, Advance Auto Parts became the title sponsor of the Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway.
In December 2012, Advance Auto Parts acquired BWP Distributors, a Carquest franchise for the New England region that included the transfer of 124 company owned retail locations plus 2 distribution centers. The responsibility for 92 independently owned location that were service by BWP were transferred to General Parts, Inc., the largest Carquest franchise along with one distribution center for servicing those locations.
On October 16, 2013, Advance Auto Parts entered into a definitive agreement to acquire General Parts International, Inc. (GPI), a leading privately held distributor and supplier of original equipment and aftermarket replacement products for commercial markets operating under the CARQUEST and WORLDPAC brands. The deal created the largest automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America.
General Parts International, with corporate headquarters in Raleigh, NC, has seen a significant rise in personnel since being acquired by Advance. Most of these added jobs are personnel from Roanoke, Minnesota or between the now redundant GPI positions being transferred to Raleigh.
In 2014 Advance Auto Parts began a Loyalty Program for "Do-It-Yourself" retail customers, named SpeedPerks. By enrolling in the loyalty program, the member will receive discounts off of purchases without the need of a card or point system. When a customer spends $30 in store before tax, a $5 off coupon will be sent in their email, for a $100 purchase before tax a $20 off coupon will be emailed to the member.
On September 30, 2015, Starboard Value LP, an activist investment firm disclosed a 3.7 percent stake in Advance Auto Parts. Through a letter to Chief Executive Darren Jackson and a keynote presentation published on Starboard's website, Starboard Values believes that Advance Auto Parts shares have the potential to reach $350 each if the company takes steps to improve profit margins. The presentation also stated that "Advance Auto Parts has substantially underperformed compared to peers on almost any measure, including operating margins, revenue growth, and total shareholder return." Roanoke, Virginia-based Advance Auto's sales have missed market expectations in four of the past six quarters. Starboard Value LP was behind the ouster of the entire board of restaurant operator Darden Restaurants Inc last year, owners of the Red Lobster/Olive Garden restaurants. Under market pressure in November 2015, Darren Jackson elected to resign his position as CEO effective January 2, 2016. On April 4, 2016, Advance announced Frito-Lay North America CEO Tom Greco would succeed Jackson as CEO. In the 16 months following Greco's appointment, Advance Auto stock has plummeted (45%).
As of 2017 Advance Auto Parts shares are mainly held by institutional investors (The Vanguard Group, Wellington Management Group, BlackRock, State Street Corporation, Lazard and others).
Advance Auto Parts is the largest automotive aftermarket retailer in the United States based on sales and store count. The company premiered on the Fortune 500 list of companies in 2003 at No. 466 and has remained on the list since that time. As of June 2014, it was ranked at No. 1,412 on the Forbes magazine "World's Biggest Public Companies" list.
Advance has received recognition for charitable contributions. The company has been named an "elite partner" for its fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), having donated more than $42 million since 1994. Advance acts as an aggregator for the largest portion of the donations for JDRF, collecting monies from both walk-in customers and commercial business through the sale of paper sneakers, that once purchased by the customer are displayed on the store windows.