RAC Partners with Blackcircles.com in Online Tyre Deal

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Leading UK motoring organisation RAC has teamed up with Blackcircles.com to create RAC Tyres, an online tyre retail portal offering savings of up to 40% to their seven million members and visitors to the RAC Web site.

The relationship with Blackcircles.com is an exciting new venture for RAC, introducing a compelling new service for our members and all consumers. And, at a time when consumers are increasingly shopping around they can be confident that our new proposition with Blackcircles.com offers a great price combined with a trusted quality service.

Tyre retailer Blackcircles.com has been awarded a nationwide contract with RAC to operate its new online tyre retail business RAC Tyres, serving the motoring organisation's seven million members in the UK.

Company representatives at Blackcircles.com have described the agreement as a "landmark deal" and pointed out that the announcement follows a period of sustained growth for Blackcircles.com. According to an interview with the Financial Times published in early April, company founder Mike Welch believes the recession could benefit Blackcircles.com as customers seek out opportunities to save on both the big name brands and alternative low cost tyres.

Blackcircles.com will supply the motoring organisation's new tyre retail operation, RAC Tyres. The new service will enable RAC members and visitors to order tyres through the RAC website (accessible at rac.co.uk and ractyres.co.uk) and have them fitted at any one of more than 1,000 outlets UK-wide.

Blackcircles.com has witnessed a growth in turnover to levels in excess of £10 million since it was launched in 2001. In an earlier report, the Financial Times quoted Welch as saying sales were as much as 80 percent up year-on-year.

According to the FT interview Blackcircles.com achieved a turnover of £11 million in 2008 and the company is expecting sales to reach as much as £17 million this year. As far as market share is concerned, Welch has a clear goal of gaining 10% of the estimated £1.3 billion market for tyres in the UK.

Mike Welch commented on the RAC partnership, adding: "This deal is a major milestone in the growth of the business and another significant step towards our goal of capturing £100 million of the UK tyre market. We share RAC's commitment to customer service and helping UK drivers reduce the cost of running their car. Now more than ever, motorists are being turned off by the over inflated prices of high street tyre retailers. Blackcircles.com and RAC Tyres offer the best deal in terms of tyre prices, choice and service."

Gavin Talbot, RAC senior business manager, added: "The relationship with Blackcircles.com is an exciting new venture for RAC, introducing a compelling new service for our members and all consumers. And, at a time when consumers are increasingly shopping around they can be confident that our new proposition with Blackcircles.com offers a great price combined with a trusted quality service."

Notes to editors

Blackcircles.com was launched in 2001 as a revolutionary new way of buying tyres. By using the company website or call centre service, customers can choose the type of tyres they want and have them fitted at their local independent garage at a time which is convenient to them. The group now offers extensive mobile tyre fitting services making the process even more convenient for the customer.

Blackcircles.com is a nationwide tyre retailer that can save customers an average of 40% on their normal purchase of tyres.

The company also has trading sites in Europe including Pneus En Ligne in France, Mein Reifen in Germany, and Auto Banden Shop in the Netherlands and these are said to contribute about 10% of overall sales.

Managing Director Mike Welch left school aged 16 to become a tyre fitter in Liverpool. He went on to launch his first tyre business while still in his teens before being head hunted by Kwik-Fit as New Business and e-Commerce Development Manager. He left Kwik-Fit in 2001 to launch Blackcircles.com.

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MIke Welch
Blackcircles.com
+44 0845 620 2000
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