Britain’s largest independent wholesaler, distributor and retailer of tyres is to begin the biggest period of expansion in its 43 year history.
With revenues exceeding £322m last year, Micheldever Tyre Services Limited sold 6 million tyres through 8,500 fast fit centres - including its own network of Protyre branded retail sites - the equivalent of one in every five tyres replaced by UK motorists.
It now plans to increase this to 7.5m tyres over the next four years, firstly, by helping its wholesale and distribution partners become the best replacement tyre retailer in their locality. By providing wholesale customers with competitive mid-range products and geographic exclusivity, in-depth market intelligence, a credible online presence, and marketing support, Micheldever believes it can empower independent outlet owners to operate and promote their businesses more efficiently.
Secondly, ambitious acquisition plans will see the 63-strong Protyre retail network expand to over 100 sites within 18 months.
Chief Executive Duncan Wilkes explains: “Our wholesale customers represent over £230m in annual sales and are fundamental to our planned growth. Our partnership approach is unique within this sector and engenders greater loyalty and lock-in. Meanwhile, our Protyre division now retails over one million replacement tyres each year and is on track to grow by a further 40% in the next 18 months. New sites will take our exclusive tyre brands into fresh geographic territories, whilst respecting our existing wholesale customers.”
Micheldever’s offer blends traditional premium tyre brands with exclusive mid-range ‘house’ brands - Falken, Kumho, General Tire and GT Radial – which it retains the distribution rights for. This mix enables both its high volume and small independent fitting customers to remain highly competitive and protect profit margins by offering products across a range of price points to match market demand.
Profits in the tyre market are under pressure as a growing number of consumers trade down from premium brands to less expensive mid-range or budget tyres - rather than simply defaulting to household name brands or replacing them like-for-like when making a purchase.
“Micheldever is well positioned to capitalise on this trend,” continues Mr Wilkes. “By offering high-quality mid-range tyres capable of matching more established brands in most cases, we are attracting these more frugal customer without compromising either our reputation for trust and expertise, or our commercial integrity.”