FINDLAY, Ohio — Monro Inc. is adding the Cooper brand to the portfolio of brands available at its nearly 1,200 retail locations in operation in 28 states throughout the eastern U.S.
The agreement to carry the brand fits in with Cooper's declared strategy to build the brand and "emphasize our strong value proposition to consumers," Brad Hughes, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. CEO and president, told stock analysts during the firm's recent fiscal 2018 financial results conferenced call.
"As our brand becomes even more recognized, our retail expansion strategy becomes more important," Mr. Hughes said.
"We are excited that Cooper and Monro — two organizations that share a strong commitment to the consumer, to continued growth and outstanding service in the tire industry — are coming together to make our great products and services available to an ever wider audience of consumers," he added.
Mr. Hughes did not elaborate on what the deal with Monro might mean in terms of unit volume or revenue for Cooper, but he did say Monro would be stocking a "relatively good portfolio" of Cooper-brand and that both companies consider this a "partnership" that will grow as Monro continues to build its network of retail stores.
Mr. Hughes added this is one of a number of "strategic priorities" the company is executing to build business and grow the Cooper brand. Other moves include making inroads into the global OE business and introducing new products at a faster pace.
From its perspective, Monro figures show the retailer installs more than 3 million tires a year through its store network, which includes a number of retail brands such as Monro Auto Service & Tire Centers, Mr. Tire, Autotire, Ken Towery's Tire & Auto Care, Tire Barn Warehouse, Tire Warehouse, Tread Quarters, Tire Choice and the Car-X Tire & Auto franchise network.
Among the major brands Monro already carries are: BFGoodrich, Dunlop, Falken, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Kelly, Laufenn, Michelin and Pirelli, as well as the Pantera private brand.
Monro recently added 13 retails stores in Florida through the acquisition of Rick Johnson Auto & Tire and announced the pending acquisition of a dozen more stores in Louisiana.
The Rick Johnson Auto acquisition is expected to add about $12 million in annualized sales, representing a sales mix of 65 percent service and 35 percent tires. These acquisitions fill in existing markets, Monro said, and have been converted to TireChoice Auto Service Centers.
The locations in Louisiana are expected to add about $15 million in annualized sales, representing a sales mix of 35 percent service and 65 percent tires. Monro said it would not disclose the name of the dealership until the sale is finalized.