AKRON — Much like in the U.S. over the past year, the wholesale landscape in Canada has changed measurably of late, led by the late 2018 acquisition by Montreal-based Groupe Touchette Inc. of Atlas Tire Wholesale Inc.
Unlike in the U.S., however — where tire makers Bridgestone Americas, Goodyear and Michelin North America Inc. initiated the consolidation wave — the Canadian consolidation process has been driven almost entirely by independent distributors.
The move by Groupe Touchette extended the company's reach, particularly in Ontario, where Atlas Tire operates three distribution centers (D/Cs) and was in the process of opening a 182,000-sq.-ft."inventory support center" in Toronto to help improve deliveries to its existing wholesale distribution network of six D/Cs across the country.
The combination of Groupe Touchette and Atlas Tire Wholesale will result in an enterprise with sales revenue in the range of $420 million to $500 million annually, according to Touchette, the self-described No. 1 tire distributor in Canada before the Atlas deal.
Groupe Touchette will have a workforce of nearly 750 spread among 35 distribution centers in Canada, with a combined storage capacity of 1.7 million square feet. The move coincides with Touchette's business plan, aimed at accelerating growth in the Canadian distribution market.
Groupe Touchette also distributes tires in Ontario under the DT Tire and TireLink banners, from five distribution locations.
Earlier in the year, Pneus Unimax Ltd. — the Boucherville, Quebec-based wholesaler that administers the Point S program in Canada — struck a deal with Edmonton, Alberta-based North Country Tire Distributors Ltd. (NCT) to bring the Point S retail program to dealers in Western Canada.
Point-S said at the time it expected NCT — which operates wholesale distribution centers in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta — to sign 10 to 15 customers a year for the next few years to the Point S program, starting with the one retail outlet that NCT operates. There are more than 200 Point-S-branded retail locations in Quebec, Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces.