The UK’s largest tyre retailer, Kwik Fit, is being prepared for a sale. The Japanese Itochu group, which owns the European Tyre Enterprises Ltd (ETEL) holding company that controls both Kwik Fit and its wholesale counterpart Stapleton’s Tyre Services, has appointed investment bankers Nomura to advise on strategic options for the company, according to Sky News, with insiders suggesting a sale is very likely.
Central Tyre has appointed former Pirelli and Prometeon sales manager Alex Whittle as sales director. In his new role, Whittle will be responsible for all sales operations across the car, van, truck, industrial and agricultural sectors. His appointment follows a successful growth period within the UK market, according to Central. Central Tyre is part of the UK’s leading ETEL group of tyre retailers, alongside Kwik-Fit and STS Tyre Pros.
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.
European Tyre Enterprise Limited (ETEL) has appointed Andy Fern as managing director of its Stapleton’s Tyre Services tyre wholesale business.
Fern, who is currently group fleet sales director, replaces Wataru Goroku (‘Go’), who is taking on a new role with ETEL’s parent company Itochu. Go will provide continuity by taking the role of chairman of Stapleton’s during a transition period to ensure a smooth handover.
Kwik Fit has “significantly expanded” its ‘Mobile7’ mobile tyre fitting operation and is executing plans for “further development in 2019 and beyond”. Kwik Fit launched ‘Mobile7’ inside the M25 in 2016 and has subsequently expanded the service into other regions across the UK. According to the company, ‘Mobile7’ is Kwik Fit’s response to delivering both increased tyre replacement capacity and flexibility. Kwik Fit ‘Mobile7’ runs in addition to the company’s 600-odd bricks and mortar retail units.
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.
European Tyre Enterprise Ltd (ETEL), which includes Kwik Fit GB and Stapleton’s Tyre Services, has announced that Shinjiro Tanaka will replace current Group CEO Yasuyuki Harada, who is returning to Japan.
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.
Leading UK tyre group, European Tyre Enterprise Ltd (ETEL), has announced a series of promotions within its senior management, including the appointment of a new CEO following Kenji Murai’s promotion to a global position with parent company, Itochu.
Following three 2017 Tyre Industry Awards, European Tyre Enterprises Limited (ETEL) said its success in three separate personnel focused awards categories proved the quality of its staff development initiatives. The company prevailed in the Staff Training and Development Initiative Award with Kwik-Fit, while members of staff won National Apprentice Tyre Technician of the Year (Kimberley Locker, STS Tyre Pro) and REACT Roadside Technician of the Year award (Adam Grimley, Central Tyre (Commercial), who shared the award with Tomasz Woiciechowski of Tyre Maintenance).
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.
European Tyre Enterprises Ltd (ETEL) CIO and commercial director, Steve Parker is to leave the company. Parker, who has been with the business for over 30 years (first at Stapleton’s and latterly at ETEL), is taking a break from the industry to “spend time with his family and pursue other interests”.
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.
The Kwik Fit Group has agreed a partnership deal that sees the Kwik Fit tyre retail and fast-fit brand expand into Italy. Under the terms of the agreement, 200 centres are set to open over the next decade.
The expansion is based on a franchise agreement with CDG-ONE, part of Segema S.p.A., a leading tyre distribution group in Italy. Segema imports and distributes Yokohama tyres in Italy through Yokohama Italia S.p.A. and GiTi Tyres through Magri Gomme S.p.A.
Central Tyre, Chester has been names as the 2015/16 Pirelli Performance Centre of the year. Each year Pirelli awards one of its 107 Performance Centres with the PPC of the year title. To determine the winner 11 top performing PPCs had a video mystery shop exercise, scored by an independent assessor. Central Tyre, Chester achieved a near perfect score and were therefore recognised with the award.