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TBC: 'Expect more acquisitions'

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TBC Corp. plans to add 35 stores to its line-up of retail outlets in 2003, "and I'd be disappointed if we didn't make (more) acquisitions," says TBC President and CEO Larry Day.

Though Day "can't give any specifics now," he says TBC is targeting tire store chains with 20 to 100 outlets.

"I'd prefer to concentrate on the larger chains at this point."

TBC added 72 retail stores during 2002: 40 Tire Kingdom Inc. outlets and 32 Big O Tires Inc. locations.

"Tire Kingdom had a great year," says Day. The 222-store, Riviera Beach, Fla.-based chain "delivered gross profit improvements and successfully integrated a small acquisition (Cleveland, Ohio-based Mueller Tire & Brake, which TBC bought in early 2002)."

TBC transformed Mueller "from an almost 100% major label (dealership) to a 50/50 (major label/private brand) supplier."

Big O also "will grow nicely in 2003," according to Day, who adds the 536-location distribution group will receive its own Power Line tires this year.

TBC unveiled its new Power Line inventory reduction program at its recent dealer meeting.

The company's Carroll Tire wholesale arm "picked up share last year. We didn't open any branches, but we're ready to grow that chain again."

TBC's net sales for 2002 totaled $1.1 billion, a 10% increase over previous-year levels.

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