PHILADELPHIA ( TheStreet) -- One thing that has not changed with the economic downturn is Americans loving their cars. But they are driving vehicles longer and better maintaining them, revving up the stocks of many aftermarket service and parts providers.Shares of The Pep Boys ( PBY), however, have remained stuck in neutral while those of competitors such as Autozone ( AZO), O'Reilly Automotive ( ORLY) and Advance Auto Parts ( AAP) have taken off over the past year. Philadelphia-based Pep Boys reported first-quarter results June 8, including sales of $510 million that were off $8.5 million from analysts' estimates. The stock dropped 12% that day. It hasn't recovered. In response, the company this month rolled out an advertising campaign reintroducing founders Manny, Moe and Jack. The company isn't releasing figures on the cost of the TV, radio, print and Internet offensive. TheStreet spoke with Pep Boys Chief Executive Officer Mike Odell about the change in auto parts and service spending, as well as The Pep Boys turnaround strategy. The retail sales number for June was pretty tepid. Are Americans still spending on their cars? Odell: People are definitely maintaining their vehicles, because they can't easily afford to go out and get a new car. They are going to come in to see us, and it's our job to help them maintain their vehicles. They're willing to spend, but they're cautious. Why has The Pep Boys stock underperformed its competitors? The environment should be good for all of you. Odell: We are in the midst of a turnaround, and it's also important to note that we are a lot different than some of the other players to which we are often compared. We have a very unique business model. It starts with parts, but that's a little less than a third of our business. Half of our business is service and the rest is our automotive superstore. A little over 20% of our business is accessory. It's about appearance, it's about performance, and it is a little bit more discretionary in nature. However, we consider ourselves the one place that customers can go and find anything they want for their car, whether it's maintaining it or improving the look or performance. They can do it themselves or they can have our
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