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Dealers poised to face greater fight from fast-fit chain

The UK’s motor industry is watching closely the new owner of Kwik-Fit to see whether it will combine its market-leading tyre chain with its existing wholesale operation.

Itochu Corporation said when it bought Kwik-Fit earlier this year that it would keep the retail business, which has 673 centres in the UK, separate from its Stapletons Tyre Services distribution operation.

Stapletons is one of the three largest tyre wholesalers with nine warehouses across the UK , and it has its own chain of some 110 retail workshops nationwide.

However a source has told AM that now Itochu has been given clearance by competition authorities to run the businesses freely, the tyre industry is watching closely for signs of integration between Kwik-Fit and Stapletons.

Such a move, he said, could make it extremely difficult for franchised dealers to compete with Kwik-Fit for premium tyre sales.

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