Well it was only a matter of time. The competition has done nothing but get stronger and stronger, while the oatmeal man CEO destroys AZO from the inside out. There was a time when no competitor wanted to be anywhere near an AZ store, but that was 5+ years ago. Now new leadership has "their own order" of priorities. #1 - the investor (EPS), #2 - the customer (and that is one hell of a distant #2), and #3 - the stores and staff (and #3 is located on the 6th level of hell). This has lead to numerous tenured people bailing out when they realized the light at the end of the tunnel was the Odland EPS freight train coming to rape what was left of your store morale and operational ability. WHERE ARE THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS!! HAVE YOU BEEN IN A STORE IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS (unannounced)? You can't service customers with 40% less payroll. You can't clean stores with 40% less payroll. You can't deliver parts with 40% less payroll. You can't operate auto parts stores and expect real auto parts customers to take you seriously if you keep bringing crap like scooters and silly string into stores that don't have time to sell starters and alternators properly. SNAP OUT OF IT!
I left long long ago, but I am still a (frustrated) customer, still bleed autozone orange, and have lots of friends in west Texas who still work there. Someone needs to boot someone in the butt before they kill this once great company. And that someone is in a corner office on the 6th floor of 123 Front street.
AZO only lost 1 percent, when gas prices hit their peak keeping people off the road. The CEO should get a bonus, for doing what I hope he is doing. Advertising bad news, so they can buy shares back at a low rate. It is genius. P/E is now 12.
BTW, I only shop AZO stores. Where I can get free loaner tools to install the part and prices always seem lower.
If you don't like AZO there are plenty of other auto parts stores you can buy or work for. Out with the bad, in with the good.
What you say makes SO much sense. Having left the company myself ($24.00 options sold at $85 even 9/15/03) I too cringe when I walk into any of the local AZO's. High turnover ($7.00 high school kids) a couple of grey shirts (maybe 1 experienced manager too afraid to venture out) all with no fire in their belly for this job.
Hey Tex! You used to know me as Witt. Check out TSCO. Perfect niche market, great financials, future growth is boundless. Great store support. All they really need to do is upgrade POS systems. I honestly believe in this company's growth, direction, and future.
AZO selling swimming pools, silly string, and lawn sprinklers...Now I've seen it all.
They have a bunch of grocery store execs in charge running the company like a grocery store chain. Their money and influence gets them the chance to steer the boat the way they see fit until it runs aground and then they just jump ship and end up in another high $$ job. I have never seen a bunch of senior execs that were more clueless in my life.
The major stockholder's interest is only in his portfolio value short term. Pitt needs to take his company back and fix it before it melts before him. Then again, maby he is in a different place in his life and AZO is no longer a priority.
This once was the 900 pound ape of the Automotive Aftermarket, and now it's just the 100 pound chimp. Optimism is evaporating at the SSC......