The makeup of North America's largest tire dealerships continues to evolve toward larger store networks, based on the continuing wave of mergers and acquisitions over the past several years.
Led primarily by Monro Muffler Brake Inc.'s five separate acquisitions since last October, totaling 89 stores, the average store count among the 100 largest dealerships grew by two to 60 stores. The median dealership size stayed at 22, however.
In all, 36 of the 100 dealerships in this year's ranking added stores, according to Tire Business' analysis of available industry data, while a dozen closed or sold stores and 52 reported no change in their store count since October 2012.
This year it took 11 stores to make Tire Business' top 100 list. In addition, our research reveals there are 74 more dealerships just outside the top 100 operating collectively nearly 550 stores13 with 10 stores, 16 with nine, 15 with eight and 20 with seven.
The average sales revenue per outlet for the dealerships that reported sales dropped to $2.41 million, reflecting perhaps the soft market for the tires that has prevailed for much of the past year.
The median sales revenue of a storebased on data from 55 companies that supplied sales informationwas just shy of $1.3 million, down slightly from $1.4 million a year ago.
The typical dealership outlet derived 58 percent of sales from tires, 41 percent from automotive service and 1 percent from other, miscellaneous sources. This breakdown is skewed slightly more toward tires than a year ago.
Three of the dealerships, including No. 2 Discount Tire/America's Tire, are focused 100 percent on tires and associated services, while a dozen indicated tires were less than half of revenues.
The typical Top 100 tire dealership offers more than 11 brandsseven to eight flag brands, one to two import and one privatewith Michelin, BFGoodrich and Good-year the dominant brands, carried by 79, 77 and 72 dealerships, respectively, followed by Bridgestone (62), Continental and Uniroyal (60 each), Dunlop (55), Firestone and Kelly (50 each), Pirelli and Hankook (49 each), Cooper (42) and Yokohama (40).
All of the dealerships in this year's ranking are active in social media, starting with a website (100 percent, with a few of the franchise owner groups operating through the franchisor's site), 97 with a Facebook page, 61 using Twitter, 39 with a LinkedIn presence, 23 taking advantage of YouTube and 19 active on Google+.
All but four of the 100 dealerships in this year's ranking are privately owned, including Somerset Tire Service Inc. and Ben Tire Distributors Ltd., which are owned by employees.
Of the four firms publicly owned or controlled by outside financial holdings, threeTBC Corp., Monro Muffler Brake Inc. and Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jackare among the six largest dealerships.
Additionally, Goodyear owns minority stakes in two Canadian dealerships, Coast Tire & Auto Service Ltd. and Fountain Tire Corp.
Eight of the dealerships in this year's Top 100 are affiliated with Tire Alliance Groupe (TAG), representing 294 outlets, with four dealerships and 110 outlets flying the American Car Care Centers Inc. (ACCC) flag.
Other affiliations include: Good-year Tire & Service, carried by 19 dealerships at 493 locations; and Michelin's Alliance program, 15 dealers with 358 stores.
American Tire Distributors Holdings' Tires Pros network, which now numbers more than 500 locations, has just one dealer among the Top 100Associated Tire Stores Inc., with 12 stores in Utah and Wyomingsince most Tire Pros dealers are smaller, one-, two- or three-store enterprises.
On the service side of the ledger, dealerships in the ranking operated an average of eight service bays per outlet.
Alignments, suspension work (shocks, struts, etc.), brakes and oil/lubrication top the list of services the largest dealerships offer (more than 95 percent of those for which information could be ascertained), followed by cooling system/air-conditioning maintenance/-repair at about 80 percent of dealers.
Less common among tire dealers are engine diagnostics, exhaust and transmissions, all falling below the 75-percent mark, with exhaust work the least common.
Looking at the market geographically, Bridgestone Americas' retail networkFirestone Complete Car Care, Tires Plus and ExpertTire storesis the most prevalent name, with a presence in all 10 of the regional areas profiled by Tire Business, including being the largest in fourSoutheast, Upper Midwest, Southeast Central and Southwest Central.
TBC Retail Group shows up in nine of the 10 regions, including No. 1 in the South Atlantic and Mountain regions, the latter with its Big O Tires Inc. franchise network. Discount Tire/America's Tire, No. 2 nationally with 840 outlets, has a presence in six of the 10 regions but is not No. 1 in any one of them.
See the thumbnail charts on the regions on pages 33 and 34 for the complete listings.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 330-865-6145.