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17 May 2004
The Herald
Internet tyre retailer moves into fast lane with Auto Trader deal
BLACK Circles, the Peebles-based internet tyre retailer, has moved into the mainstream consumer market through a link-up with Auto Trader online.
The tyre retailer will now have direct links to Auto Trader's 2.5 million monthly online visitors, giving it the biggest internet presence of any tyre business in the UK.
Formed in 2001, the company has more than 800 approved tyre-fitting outlets across the
UK and around 20,000 registered customers. Black Circles recently appointed Graeme Bissett, the former Kwik Fit finance director, as its chairman.
Mike Welch, managing director and founder of Black Circles, said: "Consumers now know there are more efficient and transparent ways of buying almost every consumable item and tyres are no different. This makes the Auto Trader online offering an even better proposition and importantly provides Black Circles with access to a massive online educated motoring consumer. The link gives the Auto Trader customer direct access to the most advanced online purchasing and largest fitting network in the UK."
Black Circles does not carry stock. Instead it determines where customer inquiries are located and where the tyres they need can be sourced cheaply in that area. Customers then only need turn up at to have their tyres fitted at a time that suits them, before driving away again.
The system eliminates the traditional way of buying new tyres which involves driving to and waiting in a queue at a fitting depot and ensures the type of tyre needed is never out of stock. Customers typically save between 25% and 60% of the normal tyre prices.
Black Circles and Welch have won a number of business awards in the past year, including Shell LiveWIRE Entrepreneur of the Year, Scottish Enterprise's Winner at the Web Award and the firm was also a finalist at the HSBC Business Awards.
Welch has previously outlined his ambition of having 2000 affiliated fitting garages by the end of this year and has looked at raising additional finance his expansion plans.

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