Retail

Cooper looks to increase retail business

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During a teleconference to discuss Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s third quarter financial results (see related item), Tom Dattilo, the company's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "We would like and will seek more retail business."

Dattilo feels Cooper's "history of customer service will help us regain business" with its independent tire dealers and private brand customers.

The company had a pretty significant drop in broad-line units (in the range of 800,000) this year. He feels Cooper "may have lost our focus on broad-line tires."

The company plans to rectify this by concentrating on broad-line tires in addition to its high and ultra-high performance products, and will be introducing new broad-line products in 2006, Dattilo noted.

"We will reaffirm that broad-lines are a big part of our business. We have to win those customers back" through attractive pricing, company relationship and adequate supply, Dattilo said.

"We have ongoing relationships with solid retailers. We believe that they will significantly increase their purchases of Cooper products over the next few years," Dattilo said.

Cooper also plans to build on its private brand customer relationships with such companies as Del-Nat Tire Corp., Hercules Tire & Rubber Co., Treadways Corp. and TBC Corp.

Other company initiatives include decreasing scrap per tire rates; expanding distribuiton in Europe, Spain, Portugal and other countries; increasing Cooper brand awareness in Europe; and completing its Asian strategies, where it sees a strong overall growth rate over the next 10 years.

Dattilo also said the company will be increasing tire prices on

December 1 "up to 5%." This will be the third increase for 2005.

The company added its new logo has been well-received, (see SEMA, DAY FOUR: Cooper introduces new, contemporary logo). "It symbolizes the progress we've made," Dattilo said.

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