Advance Auto Parts is an American automotive aftermarket parts provider. Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, it serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself (DIY) customers. As of July 13, 2019, Advance operated 4,912 stores and 150 Worldpac branches in the United States and Canada. The Company also serves 1,250 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. The company's stores and branches offer a broad selection of brand name, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and private label automotive replacement parts, accessories, batteries and maintenance items for domestic and imported cars, vans, sport utility vehicles and light and heavy duty trucks.
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 Discount Auto Parts, Inc., a regional auto parts chain with 671 stores 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 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.
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. Effective January 2, 2016, Darren Jackson elected to resign his position as CEO. On April 4, 2016, Advance announced Frito-Lay North America CEO Tom Greco would succeed Jackson as CEO. While Advance stock declined throughout 2016 and 2017, the stock has seen a strong recovery as the company's five-year transformation plan progresses. In 2018, Advance was the #4 top performing stock of the S&P 500 outperforming the aftermarket automotive parts industry by more than 30 percent.
In October 2018, Advance and Walmart announced a strategic omnichannel partnership that will create an automotive specialty store on Walmart.com.
In November 2018, Advance Auto Parts announced the relocation of its headquarters from Roanoke, Virginia to Raleigh, North Carolina. The state of North Carolina and Advance Auto Parts agreed on a $12 million incentive package for this relocation.
On December 23, 2019, it was announced that Advance Auto Parts would be purchasing the DieHard battery brand from Sears. The deal was a $200 million all cash deal. To promote the acquisition and availability of the brand at Advance and Carquest, Advance hired actor Bruce Willis to be part of a promotional film in-character as John McClane from the film Die Hard, which was released during the 2020 holiday season.