Pep Boys: 'Tire business is turning around'

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Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack's service sales, which includes tire sales, "is turning the corner," Pep Boys CEO Larry Stevenson told analysts during a conference call this morning.

Pep Boys' tire margins during the fourth quarter of 2005 were down 2%. The chain's tire sales fell 8.9% during the third quarter.

Pep Boys reduced losses "through aggressive pricing. This will continue in 2006."

Stevenson says touring tires comprise most of Pep Boys' tire line-up.

In 2006, the company plans to push performance tires more, in addition to light truck and SUV tires.

"We dramatically under-penetrate relative to the market on LT/SUV. We also need to drive" warranties, valve stems and other tire-related items.

Ealier today, Pep Boys announced it had achieved sales of $549.8 million during the fourth quarter of 2005, .7% less than 4Q 2004 sales.

Its service revenue dropped 4.3% during that period overall, while its merchandise sales increased by .7%.

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