Texaco joined forces with the Federation of Small Businesses last month to warn the nation that the local service station is under threat and many communities face losing the last shop in their area.

Combine harvester

02 October, 2006
Harvest Energy has become the latest name to add to the shopping list of fuel suppliers for independent retailers. Formerly known as Futura Petroleum, the company has been in the UK for 12 years and is a big supplier to most of the major multiples, having already built up a 4% share of the motor fuels market, according to the company's head of sales, Simon Davis, who is leading the launch into the independent sector.

Taking the high road

02 October, 2006
Top 50 indies retailer Kenny Webster recently confirmed his company's status as the biggest independent retailer in Scotland following a 3.5m deal to acquire eight former Fuelforce sites it had previously been operating.

All systems go

02 October, 2006
By having the right epos solution in place, you can increase your profits by at least 3% a year. So says Jamie Shipstone, sales and marketing director for YP Electronics. He explains: "By responding to accurate trading records, you will be able to control stock more professionally, save valuable management time, and offer your customers exactly the right range of goods at the right time. Valuable margin is maintained at the point of sale and orders can be compiled in seconds. Retailers can identify shrinkage, pinpoint best sellers, reduce out-of-stocks and analyse promotions, making informed decisions on what they know rather than what they think they know."

Christmas stockings

02 October, 2006
Another year has whizzed by and Christmas will soon be upon us. For forecourt retailers the festive season is an opportunity to end on a high with some bumper sales.

Sparkling opportunity

02 October, 2006
It's been almost a year since the mad rush to convert to the new licensing system. But while all the fuss may have made some retailers wonder if the category was worth the hassle, alcohol remains a big opportunity for forecourts.
Independent petrol station bosses in one East Midlands county say they're in danger of going under as the supermarket giants battle it out for the cheapest fuel.

Shifnal becomes fuel desert

02 October, 2006
Garagewatch boss Mark Bradshaw has slammed local planning authorities which allowed the only petrol station in the town where he's based, to be bulldozed for housing.
Gulf is re-staking its claim on Merseyside with the signing of three significant dealerships previously supplied by Shell and BP.
Drive-off rates have dropped significantly, according to exclusive early results from the British Retail Consortium's (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey, due to be published in full on October 11.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury's has opened its first motorway convenience store as part of a six-month trial with Welcome Break.

In brief

02 October, 2006
Green Spirit Fuels is to receive finance from HSBC to build an 85m bioethanol plant at Henstridge in Somerset. The plant, to be run by subsidiary Wessex Biofuels, will produce some 105,000 tonnes of bioethanol and is expected to come into production by Spring 2008.

Age concern

02 October, 2006
Unless you've had a very long holiday on a desert island, you will all know about a major tranche of age discrimination legislation which comes into force this month. It will mean, for example that, advertising for a 'mature' person to do a job or someone with a specific amount of work experience is now against the law. The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations, which came into effect on October 1, make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees, trainees or job seekers because of their age. In addition all workers, regardless of age, now have the same rights in terms of training and promotion. There are also new rules regarding retirement.
For some time I'd wanted to visit a Snax 24 and while driving from Bath to Bristol on the A431 recently, I was able to make a 'stealthcheck' at a site in Willsbridge.
Our annual look at what this industry is paying its hourly-paid staff reveals that overall forecourt pay rates have increased by 2.6% in the year to September 2006. The UK national average now stands at 5.27 an hour, compared to 5.14 last year.
Why should you have to chase your supplier for commission owed? It can't be because they are strapped for cash. Surely not in the case of ATM provider TRM, a global corporation able to afford Pricewaterhouse Coopers as accountants.

HTEC targets drive-offs

02 October, 2006
HTEC is looking for retailers to trial its latest ANPR solution to tackle drive-offs. The new system gives operators remote access to an existing database of offenders, using any epos system - not just HTEC's.Cameras monitor the forecourt and record vehicle registration numbers as drivers pull up at the pump.

Car wash converter

02 October, 2006
Eco Technical Services is offering a range of solutions to convert car washes to full or partial water recycling.

Snap this one up

02 October, 2006
Sony has a special deal on its compact SnapLab digital photofinishing printer.

Personal shop plan

02 October, 2006
A shop planning programme has boosted sales of car care products, according to supplier Maccess.

Baked potato bags

02 October, 2006
Walkers is spending 21m on the launch of its latest healthier snack, Walkers Baked. The new low-fat product is aimed at consumers who wouldn't buy a diet brand, particularly men in their 20s and 30s.

Darkening your door

02 October, 2006
A dark chocolate version of Cadbury's Flake will hit the shelves this month. Targeted at 18- to 39-year-old women, Flake Dark aims to exploit the increasing popularity of dark chocolate, which has seen sales growth of 13% year on year.

More choice in pastries

02 October, 2006
Country Choice has added two new premium hand-held bakes to its savoury range.

Friendly promotion

02 October, 2006
A trade promotion on Fisherman's Friend offers 48 packs for the price of 36, giving retailers 7.80-worth of free stock at rrp.

New tobacco trio

02 October, 2006
New additions to the tobacco gantry this month include rolling paper brand Gizeh (pronounced 'geezer'). Already popular in Europe, the brand's extra slim papers are now being promoted in the UK.

Baked Beanz get backing

02 October, 2006
Heinz is investing 5m in its iconic Baked Beanz brand. A new TV campaign sees the return of the talking Supreme Bean character, who will be reminding consumers about the great taste of the nation's favourite baked beans. Tins also have a new metallic label to ensure they stand out on shelf.

Battery bonanza

02 October, 2006
Energizer is offering impulse retailers a deal on batteries to boost sales during the key Christmas selling period. The package includes a counter-top display case and a competition giving retailers the chance to win a 42-inch plasma TV.

Ginsters big spend

02 October, 2006
Ginsters is backing a series of new product launches with its biggest-ever national TV advertising campaign.

UB snack revamp

02 October, 2006
Healthier versions of Nik Naks and Wheat Crunchies have been introduced by UBUK as part of a 1m investment to drive impulse sales.

Pizza taste challenge

02 October, 2006
A range of delivery-style pizzas has been launched under Schwann's Chicago Town brand.
"AN ANNUAL APPEAL to the unwise by the unscrupulous which annually succeeds." Yes, folks, it's the Party Political Conference season. In my youth I used to follow these events avidly - now, like the vast majority of the British public, I can't even be bothered with the 30-second sound bites you get on the news. I wonder if, one day, I will turn on the TV and hear a party leader say something like following.

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About the Forecourt Trader Group
Forecourt Trader continues to maintain its market-leading position as the major source of information for the petrol-retailing sector.

Targeted at independent retailers, all those connected to the industry seek out Forecourt Trader (magazine and website) for its strong mix of news, industry and retailer profiles, as well as scheduled features that cover all categories of a service station operation at length, on both the forecourt and shop side of the business. ...more »