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.
Like London buses, acquisitions come along in threes - or so the string of recent purchases in the UK tyre distribution sector would make it seem. Between the tail-end of February and the very first days of March, it emerged that Stapleton’s Japanese owner Itochu had bought Britain’s largest tyre retailer Kwik-Fit, Stapleton’s had itself bought North Eastern Tyres & Exhausts, while fellow Grouptyre member King David Tyres had been sold to Malvern Tyres. And what’s more, this movement doesn’t look like it has quite finished yet. In February Harris Brothers sold its four branches to Micheldever Tyres Services, bringing the company’s retail depot count to 53 and counting. True, this overview is lumping changes in the wholesale business together with developments in the retail sector, but as history and recent events tell us the two parts of the trade are inextricably linked.