Despite supply chain disruptions and other challenges facing the retail sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, David Meniane, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of CarParts.com (PRTS), told Yahoo Finance Live that the online aftermarket auto parts retailer is now the “fastest growing retailer in the space.”
Formerly known as U.S. Auto Parts Network, CarParts.com has seen consistent growth over the last five consecutive quarters. Meniane commented on the sustainability of expansion for the company in the near future.
“We’re definitely anticipating some more growth,” Meniane said. “We spent the last two and a half years making some investments in the company on the talent side, the supply chain side, technology, marketing. And we definitely feel like we can continue to grow.”
In light of rising used car, rental car, and gas prices, the auto parts market is experiencing a rebound as more households are purchasing vehicles and returning to work. As the global chip shortage still holds a vice grip on the car industry, the aftermarket auto parts space is left in a unique position in which there is overwhelming demand.
However, Meniane believes that CarParts.com has fared especially well throughout these significant supply chain woes plaguing retail. He pointed to CarParts.com’s over $100 million of current inventory and its ongoing inventory and supply chain expansion efforts as being indicators of the company’s health.
“I think every retailer is feeling the impact of the supply chain disruption, not just auto parts,” Meniane said.“I think we’ve been lucky because we’ve been loading up on inventory since last year. I think all retailers have to find creative solutions to push through—whether it’s going to different ports, or domestic supplies, or different countries.”
As for what prepared CarParts.com for the pandemic-riddled economy, Meniane said that the company has been investing in expanding its supply chain footprint. In the last two and a half years, CarParts.com has gone from having two distribution centers to five today with two more on the way—one of which will be located in Florida. Although he concedes that it has been challenging to build up inventory amid unusually high demand, Meniane believes CarParts.com will grow closer to its customers with these plans for expansion.
There is currently a shortage of replacement and mechanical parts across all categories, both with CarParts.com’s own brands as well as others. And while competitors are running out of inventory due to their reluctance to incur extra transportation charges, CarParts.com will continue to bring in more inventory, according to Meniane.
“To us, inventory is our oxygen,” Meniane said. “So we look at building a business as a marathon and the more oxygen you can take in, the more success you can have in the future. So we’re a supply chain company as much as we are a technology company. And inventory is where it’s at.”
Looking forward, Meniane says that CarParts.com aims to provide customers with a wide assortment of parts while trying to replicate the experience that they would have at a brick-and-mortar location. He sees the company being a leader in online penetration for the aftermarket auto parts industry.
“There’s definitely been kind of an accelerated shift of offline to online,” Meniane said. “It’s very similar to what we’ve seen in other industries, furniture, Wayfair, or mattresses, or pet foods. I think there hasn’t been a player like us to make the commitment to kind of build an entire supply chain.”
Thomas Hum is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @thomashumTV
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