Penske closes 63 outlets due to Kmart fall-out

March 11, 2002

Penske Auto Centers LLC is closing 63 of its outlets following Kmart's announcement last Friday that it will shut down 284 stores.

"We expect the impact of these closings on our business will be minimal," says Penske President and CEO Jim Wheat.

Penske's remaining 562 outlets "are performing well."

Last May, Penske and Kmart entered into an agreement to restructure and recapitalize the tire chain.

The deal gave Kmart a 22% equity position in Penske.

Later that summer, Kmart and Penske inked an agreement that effectively joins them at the hip for the next 10 years.

Penske -- which sells the Goodyear, Penske and Dunlop brands -- has whittled down its store count from an all-time high of 875 in 1995.

It still remains the largest independent retail tire chain in North America, according to Modern Tire Dealer statistics.

Tires account for 32% of Penske's total business; the rest is derived from auto repair.