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Independent wholesaler plans network growth

Group Tyre, one of the largest national independent tyre wholesaling organisations in the UK, is gearing up for a major expansion programme.

The group's 12 members distribute replacement tyres, wheels and accessories from 20 strategic locations. Each is being urged to contribute to network improvements with the object of strengthening its same day delivery service and - as a result - the members' collective competitiveness.

Although Group Tyre is not prepared to reveal costs of the programme, nor geographic strategy, plans are understood to include the opening of some new depots, moving others to larger sites and increasing wholesale storage facilities in Scotland, the north-east and the south-east.

The move is a clear signal that Group Tyre views wholesaling as a key part of its business and mirrors the trend in the car parts business where same day delivery is considered the norm. Fast-fit tyre centres must operate within a one-day window or risk losing customers, Group Tyre chairman John Church warns, adding that consumers are not prepared to call back the following day to get a tyre fitted.

“Same day servicing has to be the rule,” says Church. “Not only is the tyre market evolving more rapidly than anyone could have foreseen, but expectations are higher in the trade as well as retail and customer level. To succeed you have to be totally focused on service.”

Church says the major problem facing outlets is the increasing sophistication of the tyre market with the range of tyre brands and sizes constantly growing.

“The market is becoming fiercely competitive with both independent garages and franchises increasing on-site tyre activities,” he says.

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