Halfords charges into second place in the 2020 UK tyre retail ranking
At the moment it is easy to get side-tracked by all the talk of the coronavirus. But, while it is clearly an important subject, the tyre business has a century or more of pre-history, has a present and has a future. With this in mind, May’s edition of Tyres & Accessories continues in line with the last eight years of research by counting and ranking the nation’s largest tyre retail chains.
The methodology is simple, we contact companies, consult publicly available sources and use third-party data where necessary in order to triangulate our tyre retail landscape. Of course, the present circumstances may look significantly different due to the nations’ current lockdown status (see Which Garages are Open During Lockdown). However, the shape of the tyre retail business before the lockdown will surely help the retail trade strategize for its ongoing future after lockdown, making this data as actionable as ever.
The word unprecedented has been used a lot recently. However, it is true to say that the UK tyre industry has never experienced a set of circumstances like this and hasn’t witnessed national action on this scale since the second world war. So, which tyre garages are open during lockdown?
Growth and stability amongst leading UK tyre retailers
6 - 10 stability, but battle for ninth position
Outside of the top five, there is a certain degree of stability amongst the remaining five companies. Those in sixth, seventh and eighth position (McConechy’s, The Tyre Group and Lodge) appear to have remained stable in terms of branch count, with 61, 58 and 40 branches respectively. However, it is worth considering all this in the context of ULM Services Ltd the fleet-orientated cooperation Universal, Lodge and McConechy’s set up during 2017. Put those three partners together and we have 119 branches and another strong contender for fifth position on the table.
ETEL continues to lead top 20 UK tyre retailers 2019
After years of expansion amongst the top 20 UK tyre retailers, the latest data shows that this trend peaked in 2017/2018 when the top 20 accounted for 2014 branches. The same 20 tyre retailers had 1980 branches between them in 2018/2019. And what’s more, the reorganisation of one retailer alone accounted for a 40-centre decline in branch count, with the overall figure remaining positive due to growth at other chains. Here Tyres & Accessories analyses the branch count data in the context of 10 years of comparable research.
Micheldever/Protyre moves up to fourth, Lodge Tyres jumps in retail rankings
In last year’s ranking of the top tyre retailers in the UK, Tyres & Accessories predicted that the pace of change in the top 20 chains by branch count would result in some jostling for position. This has proved entirely accurate, as two major acquisitions have brought two of 2017’s top 20 into the fold of higher ranked companies, leading to both Micheldever/Protyre, leapfrogging HiQ into fourth place as predicted last year, and Lodge Tyre, into the top 10 from joint-14th last year, making significant jumps in this year’s table. Most other retailers have held relatively stable positions in terms of the number of stores, while our most recent additions to the table, Eden Tyres (15 stores) and Elite Garages (13) were identified as narrowly missing out on places last year.
Close, but not yet in the top 20 – tyre retailers pushing forward
By definition, the top 20 ranking focuses its attention on the 20 largest retail chains in a given year. However, it would be wrong to assume that there aren’t equally important changes outside the top 20. Take the next five positions for example, there have also been significant changes in the fifth tier (positions 21 to 25 inclusive). And, with some 20,000 points of sale where tyres can be bought in total (including garages), all 25 positions only account for the top 10 per cent of the overall market. With that in mind, let’s take a look at those that just missed out on the attention of being in the top 20.
The 2017 tyre retail ranking continues the trend of recent years when it comes to the second group of five leading retail chains. For the last few years we have seen this “second tier” group grow steadily towards the top tier.
Protyre is fastest growing UK retail chain for 2nd straight year
The 2017 edition of Tyres & Accessories’ annual retail report shows that the overall number of branches controlled by the top 20 retail chains continues to grow. However, that is just part of the story and the data shows that there have actually been significant movements in every tier of the top 20. Perhaps the clearest observation is that Micheldever’s Protyre retail chain is once again the fastest growing in the UK – a title it claims in 2017 for the second consecutive year. Meanwhile, Goodyear’s HiQ franchise network is the top 20’s fastest faller – something that suggests the first changes in the make-up of the top five since we started tracking the UK retail landscape could take place before the year is out.
Micheldever’s Protyre retail chain is UK’s fastest growing
This year’s UK tyre retail ranking shows that the fastest growing tyre retailer is Micheldever’s Protyre chain, which added some 21 branches to its network in the last year – by far the fastest growth (both in terms of branch count and growth percentage) of any tyre retailer we are tracking. Nevertheless, ETEL remains the largest overall and is also the fastest faller, with the company running 9 points of sale less than in our 2014/2015 research. However, context makes a big difference, so for more on both these stories, read on.
While many of the names of the top 20 tyre retail chains will be familiar, the last year has seen the continuation of a number of so-called right-sizing and redistribution trends, especially at the bottom end of the top 15 between places (positions 11 – 15). At the same time, one or two medium sized retailers have grown significantly since the last survey, resulting in greater influence from this part of the market. At the same time as this, the total number of branches controlled by the top 20 chains continues to grow – pushing the balance of power further in the direction of those retail multiples.
Modern Tyre Service 9th largest tyre retailer in the UK
Following the publication of our latest coverage of the development of tyre retail business in the UK in the May issue of Tyres & Accessories (see “Mind the gap: UK retailers continue right-sizing” online and in the print edition), it has come to our attention that one company that has grown into a significant position of influence within the market during the last few years was overlooked.
Continuing our coverage of developments in the UK tyre retail sector, Tyres & Accessories reports on the following 15 companies in its 2014 top 20 leading UK tyre retailers report. After the market leading five, the next five companies in the top 20 are the fastest growing in our ranking, and probably in the market as a whole. Like Micheldever/Protyre, McConechy’s Tyre Service has grown significantly since our last survey, adding seven branches to its number and pushing its total up to 52. This brings the company’s total back to pre-recessionary levels and could be read as another indication of improving conditions in the market.
Continued branch attrition at some of Britain’s largest tyre retail chains means the line between the top five and the rest of the top 10 has continued to blur. Furthermore, we now have three 50+ branch retail chains outside the top four (which are all 100+) for the first time since Tyres & Accessories started tracking this data five years ago.
Following the publication of our recent overview of developments in the UK tyre retail landscape (Retail: Hold it steady), Tyres & Accessories has now published the accompanying data in table format. This is now available to view 24 hours a day through our tyrepress.com website. Subscribers need only click more to view the details.
The introduction of tyre labelling is likely to be the greatest change tyre dealers will experience this year. In fact some say it is the biggest adjustment to the business experienced in this tyre retailing generation, something that is likely to be true irrespective of country. Whatever your view, the introduction of this legislation comes at a time when European financial markets remain in turmoil and some of the continent’s largest tyre markets – including the UK – have returned to recession. And this at a time when incoming product prices remain high as a legacy of the last couple of years of raw material cost increases. It all adds up to significant pressure on the retail sector.