A franchise business is an excellent way for individuals to leverage the power and brand of popular retail chains to start a profitable business.
AutoZone is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S., specializing in parts and accessories. So, with this kind of success, you may wonder: is AutoZone a franchise business? Here’s all you need to know!
Is AutoZone a Franchise In 2023?
All AutoZone stores are company-owned, and the company doesn’t offer any franchises as of 2023. AutZone is a publicly-traded organization, with headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, AutoZone has more than 6,400 stores distributed across the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are all fully owned and operated by the company.
To learn more about why AutoZone is not a franchise business, AutoZone’s history, and ownership, keep on reading for more useful and interesting facts!
Why Isn’t AutoZone a Franchise?
As a publicly-traded company, AutoZone needs to run as a corporation with a single headquarters, allowing it to manage all its operations from one point.
This could explain why it does not offer any franchises.
In addition, the full ownership of the business makes it easier for executives and shareholders to have control over the operations.
When Was AutoZone Established?
AutoZone was founded in 1979 as a division of a wholesale grocer, Malone & Hyde. When the first store opened, AutoZone was then known as Auto Shack.
Years later, in 1987, the name officially changed to AutoZone.
AutoZone was first established in Arkansas, but is now headquartered in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee.
Over the years, AutoZone has expanded, and now has more than 6,000 stores in the United States and beyond.
At the end of the 2021 fiscal year, AutoZone’s net sales had reached approximately .6 billion.
Who Owns AutoZone?
AutoZone was started by J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, the first chairman and SEO, who announced that he was stepping down from the board of directors in 2018.
In 1991, the company became a publicly-traded company after listing on the New York Stock Exchange as “AZO.”
In 1999, the company made it to the Fortune 500 list for the first time. Therefore, the company is owned by shareholders who have a say in the operations of the automotive retailer.
Since 2005, William C. Rhodes III has been the chairman, president, and CEO of AutoZone. He is the fourth person to hold this position since AutoZone was established.
As part of its expansion, AutoZone has acquired other businesses over the years.
This includes the leading provider of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) ALLDATA in 1996, and online automotive products retailer AutoAnything in 2012.
Does AutoZone Own Its Real Estate?
All AutoZone properties are company-owned. When acquiring land for the stores, the company considers ground leases, co-development opportunities, and land purchases.
AutoZone has a new store development program that it uses to consider hundreds of locations every year to accommodate its expansion plans.
In fact, if anyone has a site they would like to submit for consideration, they can do so on the AutoZone website. Once they acquire lease spaces, AutoZone fully owns the stores.
In addition, AutoZone stores typically range from 6,500 to 8,000 square feet, and must be in spaces that have customer-friendly parking places and uncongested areas.
The real estate pieces also need to have 25 to 50 parking spaces to run the business efficiently.
On the other hand, AutoZone also offers to sell its locations or sublease when the store needs to move to a bigger building.
The company offers this vacant land to buyers who are looking for prime retail business locations, under surplus properties information on the AutoZone website.
Who Are AutoZone’s Competitors?
AutoZone competes against other auto retailers in the U.S. that have several stores across the country.
AutoZone’s main competitors include the following:
- Advanced Auto
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- NAPA Auto Parts
Most of these automotive parts retailers operate in different locations. However, AutoZone has more stores and serves several markets outside the United States.
How Many Employees Work at AutoZone?
In 2021, AutoZone had employed about 105,000 people in all of its stores. This number is an all-time high, and has steadily increased from 2010.
AutoZone needs a lot of staff to serve the customers who visit these physical stores worldwide.
All AutoZone stores are company-owned; therefore, the company doesn’t franchise. Rather, this automotive parts retailer is a publicly-traded organization with headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.
AutoZone has more than 6,400 stores distributed across the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are all fully owned and operated by AutoZone.