Online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com will increase its network of independent garages by 30 per cent by the end of 2009.
Around 400 garages will benefit from additional revenue, customer footfall and national marketing, helping them to compete with major high street brands, said Blackcircles.com.
Since 2001, Blackcircles.com has developed a network of 1,200 independent garages which are contracted to fit tyres purchased by customers online.
In April, the company secured an exclusive partnership deal with the RAC, driving business to its network from the motoring club’s seven million members through a new online venture called RAC Tyres.
The latest phase of expansion follows a period of sustained growth in which Blackcircles.com saw sales for the first half of 2009 soar by more than 40 per cent compared with last year.
Alan Littlewood, head of network at Blackcircles.com, said: “Our garage network is already the largest of any tyre retailer in the UK. This latest expansion will help more independent garages claw back market share from the major high street chains.
“The majority of garages in the network have reported increased revenue since becoming a member, through fitting fees and the repeat business that comes from being introduced to a wider customer base.”
He added: “Few small businesses have the resource to compete with the marketing abilities of major brands, especially during a recession. We are helping to put local businesses back on the map and, through our partnerships with trusted motoring brands such as the RAC and Unipart, giving them a national presence that they simply would not be able to achieve on their own.”
Blackcircles.com has identified target regions, including the South East and North West, where it is looking to recruit new garages to meet demand.
New signings to the network are audited by Unipart and member garages receive additional benefits such as reduced costs on new equipment.