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Stapleton's takes over Central

Tyre fitting chain Stapleton’s has more than doubled the size of its nationwide network with its acquisition of rival Central Tyre.

The purchase takes Stapleton’s chain of workshops from 45 locations to 101 sites, with trading brands including STS Tyre Pro and STS Tyre & Exhaust and now Central Tyre.

It leaves the company positioned as the fifth largest tyre retail chain in the UK by network size, behind Hi-Q, National Tyres, ATS and Kwik-Fit.

The deal adds around 300 staff to its 750-strong workforce.

Turnover, already targeted at £200m for this year, is likely to near £225m post-acquisition.

Richard Edy, director of the National Tyre Distributors’ Association, said the deal was a major development for the UK and a big step forward for Stapletons, which now gets a broader customer base, including truck operators.

“The market is pretty fluid as far as small acquisitions go, but it’s quite unique to be able to buy an established, large chain like this. In one fell swoop Stapletons has moved up the ladder considerably,” Edy added.

The sale marks the exit of tyre manufacturer Pirelli UK from direct retail operations.

It started the Central Tyre chain in order to tap into the fast-fit sector.

A similar step back by rival tyre maker Goodyear Dunlop earlier this year saw it adopt a franchising model for its HiQ network rather than operate workshops itself.

Stapleton’s spokesman Stephen Childs said: “Some of the sites do overlap geographically with STS sites.

"But at the moment we intend to run both centres at these towns.

"Both trade as separate businesses and there are no plans to rebrand."

A spokeswoman for Pirelli UK would not reveal the price paid for Central Tyre.

Stapleton’s owner, the Japanese Itochu Corporation, pledged in 2005 to funnel £14m of funds for expansion in the latter half of the decade.

That followed period of consolidation which saw the business close five retail locations and cut one of its nine distribution centres.

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