AutoZone said it has created an emergency time-off benefit for eligible part-time and full-time hourly employees in the United States and Puerto Rico, among other actions taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The additional bank of hours – 80 hours for full-time and up to 40 hours for part-time AutoZoners – was created to help AutoZoners deal with the challenges caused by COVID-19 and can be used by the end of the calendar year, the company noted.
“The health, safety and well-being of our AutoZoners and customers remains our most important concern,” said Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Memphis, Tennessee-based AutoZone. “Whether during times of natural disaster or crisis, our AutoZoners make sure that our customers can safely and responsibly operate their vehicles and get back on the road. We simply cannot thank our incredible AutoZoners enough for their tremendous and heroic response to this crisis.”
AutoZone has taken steps to bolster its liquidity. The company announced the closure of a new 364-day senior unsecured revolving-credit facility of $750 million. On March 26, AutoZone completed the sale of $500 million of the company’s 3.625% notes due in 2025 and $750 million of its 4.000% notes due in 2030.
The company also has temporarily suspended its share-repurchase program.
“At all times, we remain absolutely committed to wisely managing capital and our resources,” Rhodes said. “Along with our existing $2 billion multi-year credit facility, this most recent series of transactions allows us to strengthen our financial position and ability to be responsive during this ever-changing environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
AutoZone has approximately $1.9 billion in available capacity under its $2 billion multi-year credit facility, according to the company.
With federal guidance deeming auto parts suppliers as “essential” businesses, AutoZone has kept its store open in the United States, although the company has temporarily reduced hours of operation in most stores. AutoZone said it has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting at all locations, and introduced a new curbside-pickup option for customers.
“This crisis has caused us to re-examine the way we conduct business, while also taking every step possible to ensure the safest environment for our AutoZoners and customers,” Rhodes said. “As an essential business, we are providing necessary parts and products like automotive batteries, headlights, brakes and other automotive hard parts needed by the motoring public. Many of our customers are first responders, health care professionals, auto repair shops and people just needing to get to the pharmacy or grocery store.”