Bridgestone rebranding, closing ‘Expert’ retail outlets in US
Following a recent review of its 80 Expert Tire outlets in the US, Bridgestone Retail Operations closed 15 centres at the end of last year and is rebranding the remainder. Of the 65 outlets still in operation, 63 will become Firestone Complete Auto Care centres and two are being rebranded as Hibdon Tires Plus stores.
“After a careful banner review process, we determined that converting our Expert Tire stores best aligns with our strategic direction and makes the most sense for our customer base. The stores will benefit from the brand equity inherent in the Firestone Complete Auto Care and Tires Plus names, as well as their marketing programmes,” said Stu Crum, president, Bridgestone Retail Operations.
Regarding the decision to close 15 centres, Bridgestone says many factors were taken into consideration, including sales volume and proximity to other Firestone Complete Auto Care and Tires Plus locations. The company says the vast majority of the employees impacted by these closures will be reassigned to other locations, and in instances where the company is not able to place an employee in another location, severance benefits will be offered.
Bridgestone Retail Operations expects the conversion of the 65 outlets to be completed by the second quarter of this year. The products and services offered by all company stores – Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus and Wheel Works – will remain the same during and following the transition. Bridgestone says the rebranding will strengthen its position in the marketplace and better enable the company to focus its investments in areas that can have the greatest impact on its business model.