Online tyre fitter Blackcircles.com today opened its first fitting centre in Scotland under a tie-up with supermarket group Tesco.
The Tesco PitStop, at the retailer’s Silverburn site in Glasgow, is the fourth in the UK and comes as Blackcircles.com founder and chief executive Mike Welch said talks were ongoing with potential backers to drive further growth.
Welch, who set up the Peebles-based business in 2001, added: “It’s always been my ambition to achieve something similar to Sir Tom Farmer at Kwik-Fit and, all in all, we’re not far off where we want to be at this point in time. In terms of funding to accelerate growth in the business, talks are under way with a range of prospective investors from the trade and financial markets and we expect to conclude those discussions by the end of the third quarter.”
In March, Blackcircles.com appointed former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy to its board to work alongside Welch and chairman Graeme Bissett – a former Kwik-Fit finance chief – on financing plans that could lead to a flotation valuing the company at up to £150 million. Revenues at the firm grew 20 per cent to £27.8m in the year to the end of December.
The first PitStop opened in Milton Keynes last year. Since then further sites have opened at Tesco Extra stores in Cambridge and Cheshire.
Blackcircles.com this month added the 450th franchisee garage under its Premier Partner scheme, and Welch is aiming to grow this number to 1,000 by 2017.