Sears to drop Conti brand at its tire outlets
CHICAGO-Sears, Roebuck & Co. has notified Continental Tire North America (CTNA) Inc. that it will stop carrying the Continental tire brand at its Sears Auto Centers and National Tire & Battery (NTB) outlets.
``This ws a business decision, based on the perception that the Conti brand no longer fits our needs,'' said a Sears spokeswoman, who declined to elaborate. ``We will continue to special-order Conti tires to meet our customer needs.''
While Sears never gives out sales numbers, the spokeswoman said, she did say the Conti brand was a very small percentage of the tires Sears and NTB sell, as well as a small percentage of the tires they bought from CTNA.
Mike Barker, CTNA vice president of replacement sales and marketing, also declined to discuss tire numbers involving Sears and NTB. The General brand, however, comprises more than 90 percent of the Charlotte, N.C.-based tire maker's sales to the retailers, he said.
``Sears is an excellent customer, doing an excellent job with the General tire brand,'' Mr. Barker said. ``We support what they're doing, and we don't expect any loss of sales from it. In fact, we expect to gain in sales from their renewed focus on the General brand.''
Cooper posts record earnings
FINDLAY, Ohio-Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. reported a record $39 million in net income for the second quarter, a 112.5-percent increase over the same period in 2001.
Earnings per share were 52 cents, an all-time company record for the quarter.
The company attributed the record results to strong sales in the automotive components group and improved operating efficiencies in both its tire and automotive operations.
Net sales for the quarter totaled $836.1 million, up less than 1 percent compared with 2001. Operating profit increased 62.2 percent to $79.4 million.
The quarter also saw a significant improvement in cash generation to $102 million compared with $50 million a year earlier, Cooper said, enabling the company to reduce debt by $29 million, pay regular dividends of $8 million and strengthen its cash balance.
For the first six months of 2002, Cooper posted record net sales of $1.65 billion, a 3.9-percent increase over the same period a year ago, the company said. Operating profit for the period improved 89.5 percent to $140.2 million, while net income jumped nearly 200 percent to $65.1 million.
``We worked very hard to execute our plans and implement our strategies. These record-breaking results indicate how well we have done and the potential for even greater improvement,'' Cooper Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Dattilo said.
``Our automotive group is just beginning to hit stride now, following our integration and restructuring activities last year, and our tire group has remained solid, even in the face of a difficult quarter for the industry.''
He added that the ``results are very satisfying but there is still plenty of upside to what we can achieve.''