Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) is rechristening its company-owned retail store network ``Firestone Complete Auto Care'' and is finalizing a redesign of the stores in advance of a regional test next year.
The new name and store design eventually will apply to all 1,450 retail stores across the U.S. operating now under the name Firestone Tire & Service Centers, according to Bill Perdew, chief operating officer of Bridgestone Firestone Retail & Commercial Operations L.L.C. (BFRC), BFS's Bloomingdale, Ill.-based unit responsible for the stores.
BFRC recently remodeled a company store in Nashville with the firm's new design and layout, Mr. Perdew said, and already is making changes and tweaking the design in response to customer and store associate input.
In general, the new layout is based on what BFRC calls the ``three shop concept''-maintenance, repair and tires-with each generating about a third of sales. In a typical store, this would entail having four bays dedicated to repair, four to maintenance and two to tires, according to a presentation made earlier this year to financial analysts.
Auto service represents 65 percent of sales at Firestone retail stores, according to company documents.
BFRC is planning to do a regional test of the concept in the second half of 2006, Mr. Perdew said, with up to 15 stores in a region to be remodeled.
BFRC declined to quantify what it plans to spend to carry out the remodeling of the store network or how long it would take, but Mr. Perdew said the company refurbishes up to 200 stores a year as part of its regular maintenance schedule. Considering the need for completely new signage, however, the budget would necessarily be higher than that for regular maintenance, he acknowledged.
This project represents the first major overhaul of the stores' design in 85 years, the Nashville-based tire maker said earlier this year.
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