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TBC once again posts record sales and earnings

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TBC Corp. reported net income of $6 million on net sales of $433.8 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2004. That compares to net income of $5.5 million on sales of $256.5 million for the same period in 2003.

The record results mark the 12th consecutive quarter that TBC has posted a year-over-year gain in earnings per share.

TBC's first-quarter 2004 financial highlights compared to first-quarter 2003 results are as follows:

* Net income increased 9.3%.

* Net sales increased 69.1%.

* Same store sales for TBC's retail segment increased 6.2%.

* Total unit tire sales increased 32%.

* Unit shipments by tire manufacturers were up 7.7% (based on preliminary reports).

"During the quarter, we carried out an aggressive conversion and integration plan for the 225 National Tire & Battery (NTB) stores acquired from Sears late last year," says Larry Day, TBC CEO and president. "I am delighted to announce that our Tire Kingdom management team completed the entire conversion effort on April 7, 2004, more than two and a half months ahead of our announced June 30th goal.

"We decided to step up our integration efforts so we could more quickly begin to realize the benefits of selling our private brand tires and offering a greater number of mechanical services at these locations. Although we incurred greater costs during the first quarter as a result of this strategy, we believe those costs should be more than offset during the second quarter by improved operating results in the converted stores.

"We were pleased with the results throughout our company-operated retail store system, which incurred only minimal business disruptions despite the fact that many of our most experienced store personnel were involved in the NTB conversion effort. Operating results in these company-operated stores were impacted by a new seasonality pattern brought on by the acquisitions of the Merchant's and NTB retail stores, since many of the acquired stores operate in geographic areas that have different sales trends than we have experienced in the past.

"Our Big O franchised retail network also continued to perform well, spurred by some new sales initiatives that began during the quarter," says Day.

"Finally, our wholesale business was strong in the quarter as we benefited from successful new product launches and improved overall demand for replacement tires. With strong trends in both our retail and wholesale segments, we remain confident in the outlook for the full year and have raised the low end of our earnings guidance range."

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