AKRON—Retail tire sales led what generally was a positive third-quarter report by respondents to the Tire Business Rapid Response Fax/E-Poll.
Nearly 79 percent of the respondents reported an increase in retail tire sales for the quarter, compared with the same three months in 1999. The average increase was 14.3 percent, and 90 percent are looking for retail sales to stay the same or improve in the fourth quarter.
One dealer in Arkansas, in business since 1974, said August and September 2000 were the best two months he's ever had.
For those involved in the commercial tire business, things weren't quite as rosy. While 40 percent reported increases in tire sales averaging 10.6 percent, a third reported sales decreases, with 8 percent the average drop.
Results on the service side of the business generally mirrored that on the tire side, with about 59 percent of respondents reporting increases in retail/consumer sales and 38.5 percent reporting increases in commercial sales.
As so often is the case in these polls, respondents reported their costs rising faster than their selling prices. Sixty percent said their costs rose, while 68 percent said their selling prices remained unchanged.
A dealer in Michigan, for example, reported that his fuel costs have increased 18 percent while the cost of employee health insurance has ballooned 32 percent.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, 94 percent of respondents expect to keep their prices unchanged, while nearly half expect their costs to continue to rise.