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Biggest deal of year:

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The acquisition by TBC Corp. in May of the Midas auto service franchise business—which put more than 1,400 franchised Midas outlets in the U.S. and Canada in TBC's retail portfolio—was the single largest business deal of the past year in the tire retailing arena, but not the only one of consequence.

TBC's $310 million purchase of Midas brought 72 Midas stores under direct TBC control along with more than 1,300-plus franchised locations. The Midas franchised stores average only about $672,000 in annual revenue—relatively small in comparison with TBC Retail's own stores and Big O Tires franchises.

The Midas stores' sales base was only about 10 percent tires, leaving considerable growth potential for that end of the business.

Other deals of significance during the past 12 months include:

c Monro Muffler Brake Inc.'s acquistion of 62 stores via four transactions;

c Somerset Tire Service Inc.'s takeover of 21 former Strauss Discount Auto locations in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania from the firm's bankruptcy trustees; and

c The breakup of Miami's Martino Tire, with six stores going to international tire marketer Zafco Trading Inc. and six to Goodyear.

TBC's Midas acquisition plus organic growth expanded the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based company's retail store network to 971—including 69 Big O and 72 Midas/Speedee locations under corporate control—solidifying TBC Retail at the top of the rankings this year.

No. 2 Discount Tire/America's Tire added 33 stores across the country, growing to 840 stores, while No. 3 Les Schwab Tire Centers grew by 15 stores to 374 company-owned locations; there also are 70 Les Schwab-badged associate stores.

Monro's continued expansion-based growth solidified the firm's No. 4 ranking with 309 tire-focused stores. Monro's acquisitions include: Kramer Tire, 20 stores in Virginia and North Carolina, since rebadged Mr. Tire and Treadquarters; 18 Colony Tire retail locations in North Carolina, since rebadged Mr. Tire; 17 Tuffy Muffler locations in Wisconsin and South Carolina, since rebadged Monro in Wis-consin and TreadQuarters in South Carolina; and seven Terry's Tire Town retail stores in Ohio and Pennsylvania, since rebadged Mr. Tire.

Monro paid $59 million for the Colony, Kramer and Terry's Tire Town stores, which collectively represent about that same amount in annual sales.

Monro also sold seven stores, on Long Island, to Mavis Discount Tire, which also opened 11 other locations to reach 140 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York.

Somerset Tire's acquisition of 21 former Strauss Discount Auto locations is complemented by a handful of new stores STS already had opened or had under construction to boost STS's network to 133 stores by late September. The dealership's total should hit 150 before year-end as the rest of the Strauss stores are converted to STS signage and format.

South River, N.J.-based Strauss closed its network of 46 stores and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.

Among dealerships flexing their organic growth muscles were:

c Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack, up 19 stores to 175 Service & Tire Center locations;

c Kal Tire, up 10 stores to 179;

c Fountain Tire, up 13 stores to 146;

c Tire Discounters Inc., up 12 stores to 82 throughout central and southwest Ohio, southeast Indiana and northern Kentucky. The Cincinnati-based chain has added 22 stores in the past two years and has additional properties under development or secured; and

c Certified Tire & Service Centers Inc., up five stores to 31, with three to five more on the drawing board for 2013. Riverside, Calif.-based Certified said it is targeting San Diego for growth.

Throughout Canada, the Tirecraft Canada Inc. network has grown to 360 retail and retail/commercial locations, under the guidance of five principal partners: Miller Tirecraft of Nova Scotia; Pneus Robert Bernard of Quebec; Barnim Holdings of Ontario; Kirk's Tire Ltd. and Trail Tires Group of Alberta; and Quality Tire Service of Saskatchewan;

Elsewhere, Active Tire & Auto Centres has 76 stores throughout Ontario, Integra Tire & Auto Centres has grown to 75 affiliated outlets throughout western Canada, and Big O Tires Canada continues with 29 franchised outlets in British Columbia.

The 104 dealerships in this year's Top 100 ranking control 5,783 locations—a net gain of 330 over last year's Top 100 list. Beyond the Top 100, Tire Business has identified 87 more dealerships operating six or more stores, totaling 615-plus additional points of sale.

New to the rankings this year are: Virginia Tire & Auto of Fairfax, Va., and Wood & Fullerton Inc. of Roswell, Ga., with 11 stores each; and with 10 stores—Bruneel Tire Factory of Boise, Idaho; Carroll's Tire Warhouse of Porterville, Calif.; Elliott Tire & Service Centers of Seattle; Free Service Tire Co. Inc. of Johnson City, Tenn.; Rick Johnson Auto & Tire of Naples, Fla.; Royal Tire Inc. of St. Cloud, Minn.; and Youngstedt Companies of Hopkins, Minn.

Dropping out of the ranking this year were the aforementioned Kramer Tire, Martino Tire and Strauss Discount Tire, along with Tiremax of North America.



To reach this reporter: bdavis@ crain.com; 330-865-6145.
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Previous | Published December 6, 2018

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