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CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts reported nearly $600 million in companywide sales in 2011, exceeding their financial objectives, according to CEO David Byers.
CARSTAR also claimed double-digit same-store sales growth, beating what they cited as the average 2-percent same-store sales growth overall for the industry.
Corporately managed insurance sales saw double-digit growth, experiencing the second highest annual increase in CARSTAR’s history, according to Byers.
By the end of 2011, CARSTAR counted nearly 400 stores throughout 31 states and 10 Canadian provinces. They have added 17 more stores within the last few months in Texas, Florida, Washington, Missouri, New Mexico and Massachusetts. They also began expansion efforts in California on Jan. 1.
“The performance of all the new stores has been strong, with new store revenues being 50-percent higher than the new stores that came into the system in 2010,” said Byers. “We credit this to the quality level of stores we’re bringing in and the CARSTAR system.”
CARSTAR plans on adding 50 more stores in 2012.
CARSTAR’s four main objectives in 2012 include:
Grow existing stores’ revenues and profits through operational improvements.
Add 50 new stores.
Increase insurance sales.
Fully deploy the CARSTAR solution, their proprietary centralized management system. More than 50 stores are currently on the system, and around 100 are currently in the process of implementing it.
Asked whether the mild winter has had an impact on sales, Byers said it has but feels that CARSTAR stores more than others will be okay.
“We have seen the impact of the mild winter across the U.S. The last winter that was this mild was in 1920. There was a softening in the third quarter and we have seen that continuing into the first quarter of this year,” Byers said. “Our advantage of having superior KPIs is what, in a soft economy or business cycle, allows us to weather the storm better than independent ‘mom-and-pop’ shops. Those KPIs are what drive our business and why insurers continue to give us the business they give us.”
Byers said he sees three choices for the independent mom-and-pop shops: go it alone, sell to a corporate consolidator or join CARSTAR.
“We’re seeing insurers want accountability, consistent KPIs and repeatable outcomes,” said Byers. “Our being a large network gives us a serious advantage. We’re double the size of our next competitor in the marketplace. Our operating model feeds into the performance carriers are looking for.”