AKRON (March 20)—Goodyear will phase out the use of the Brad Ragan and Carolina Tire names for retail operations it owns in the Southeast by the end of March, and will either sell the stores, convert them to Goodyear Automotive Service Centers or close them. At the beginning of the year, Goodyear operated 86 Brad Ragan/Carolina Tire stores in North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tennesse, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Goodyear said the locations operate as home and auto stores—i.e., they still carry home appliances and other white goods along with tires and auto service—a business format that no longer is viable in today´s marketplace of mass merchandisers, as spokesman said. Goodyear is negotiating the sale of several stores with a number of interested parties, the spokesman said, without identifying any of the possible buyers or quantifying how many stores would be sold, closed or converted. Goodyear bought into the Brad Ragan chain in the 1970s, and took over 100-percent control in 1999. At one time, there were more than 140 Brad Ragan/Carolina Tire stores in operation.