Blackcircles Predicts Record £10 million Turnover
Online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com says it is on course to achieve a record turnover of at least £10 million after receiving more than 150 enquiries about joining its franchise network, which was launched in January. Blackcircles claims to be leading the revitalisation of local garages, with independents and dealerships throughout the UK joining the network “in a bid to challenge the monopoly of national tyre chains.” With a turnover of £5 million in 2005, and a projected turnover of £10 – £15 million for 2006, Blackcircles is experiencing month on month growth.
More than 26 garages from all across the UK have joined the online tyre retailer since the launch of the franchise in January, and a further 50 are in the process of signing up. However, this total of 76 members equates to only 11 per cent of 700-branch target Blackcircles set itself at the launch of the franchise scheme. And some observers from within the trade have criticised the non-specialist nature of the outlets that have joined the scheme, claiming they use old equipment and are generally unprepared for the more demanding tyre fitting problems. But this is not a Blackcircles-only gripe, the same observers have criticised other leading players including Delticom for the same reasons.
Despite this Blackcircles’ management remains upbeat about the company’s future prospects. “With the response we have received I would expect us to have tripled the number of Blackcircles’ franchises by this time next year,” Blackcircles managing director, Michael Welch commented, adding: “We rigorously screen all the businesses than express an interest in joining the network to ensure they have the right quality systems so becoming a member is a real badge of honour.”
Michael Welch, said that the company has been inundated with requests to join since the bolt-on franchise option was announced: “The success of the Blackcircles’ franchise is proving to be a strong driver of sales and this is only going to increase. We have had a great deal of interest from garages and dealerships from throughout the UK, from Kent to Leeds, and Birmingham to Edinburgh that are interested in joining the new Blackcircles network.”
Welch added: “I believe the success of the bolt-on franchise is due to the current status of the tyre retail market, which has seen local outlets struggling, or being forced to close their doors. We recognise that local independent garages and dealerships have built up a great deal of good will and by not altering their identity our aim is to make sure the local business and Blackcircles capitalise on this.”
Blackcircles has recently shown signs that it is interested in expanding into Europe through the launch of Dutch, German and French language pages on its Internet domain.