AKRON—A quick look at the numbers reveals the extent of concentration in Canadian tire retailing. The 15 largest retail networks account for more than 40 percent of the estimated 4,000 retail tire outlets in Canada, and their share is growing.
Beyond the recent consolidation moves by several independent dealers outlined elsewhere in this issue, both Wal-Mart Canada and Sears Canada Inc. are expanding their reach in the tire retailing and auto service business.
Wal-Mart plans to add 14 to 20 retail stores across Canada this year, most with Tire Lube Express Auto Centres on site, a spokesman said.
Sears Canada, which recently opened its 67th Sears Auto Centre, in Brampton, Ontario, will open its first free-standing store this spring in Mississauga, Ontario, said Vince Power, national business manager for the auto centers.
While the company has no plans to set up anything on the scale of Sears' National Tire & Battery chain in the U.S., it is evaluating other stand-alone sites on a case-by-case basis, Mr. Power said.
All Sears Auto Centres offer a full range of vehicle services, Mr. Power said, in addition to tires and wheels. The newest stores are part of Sears' move to bolster its presence in the Toronto metropolitan area, he added.