Retailers were impressed by BP's recent dealer conference in Spain, in which fuels operation manager Peter Molloy, stressed that BP was fully committed to its UK dealer business and had a clear strategy to win for the future.
== The old and the young ==

Dark invader

31 October, 2006
Market rationalisation, declining fuel margins, and diversification into food and drink sales to stay in business. It's a familiar tale - and one that is obviously not bound by oceans. For this is the background to the Canadian petrol station market, where a recent study tour in Toronto - organised by the Association of Convenience Stores - showed how, as in the UK, reinvention and innovation has been the driving force for survival.

Fuel for thought

31 October, 2006
Ask your customers what their priority is when filling up their cars and most of them will say cost. You see it might be trendy, even politically correct, to worry about the environment but most drivers are worried about how much it costs them to fill up on the forecourt.

Meal ticket

31 October, 2006
One in three people look for quick and easy-to-prepare foods during the week, according to Mintel's latest Evening Meal report. And for time-strapped commuters forecourts are often a convenient place to stop and pick up something for dinner.

Celling power

31 October, 2006
More than 660 million batteries will be sold in the UK this year, according to Mintel, as we continue to fill our lives with power-hungry toys and gadgets. The vast majority of these batteries will be bought on impulse, meaning forecourts are ideally placed to serve the instant needs of today's high-tech consumers. However, the message on this year's report card reads 'could do better'.

Drivers go 'wild' at BP

31 October, 2006
Motorists using the BP service station near Gatwick airport in West Sussex are fuming after being sent fines of £150 for parking on the forecourt for more than 20 minutes - especially as marketing for the Wild Bean Café encourages them to stop for a break.
Total has come under fire by some of its commission operators for the way it handled the re-organisation of its company-owned network. One said he felt kept in the dark about the future of his business for too long. With most sites now being run in clusters by large dealer groups - so-called 'super com-ops' - there are rumoured to be only 28 original com-ops left, although Total would not confirm this.
A petrol station owner has got so fed up with bikers 'bilking' from his BP outlet, that he's now refusing to serve them unless they take off their helmets.
Secureplate, from Hills Numberplates, is a new theft-resistant car plate.
The Fraser Group has unveiled its latest site redevelopment at Cannon Pool Service Station in Witney, Oxfordshire, completing the relaunch of all its five sites in the past three years. The rural Cannon Pool site has been owned and run by the Frasers for 30 years, and reached a crossroads four years ago when it could have been sold for housing. Instead, in 2003 the company decided to buy the house next door in order to get the extra piece of land for car parking.

Fuel prices - October 24, 2006

01 November, 2006

in brief

31 October, 2006
The PRA is running a series of open meetings for petrol retailers across the UK throughout November. The events are a chance to network as well as meet exhibitors showcasing products and services for the forecourt sector. For booking details contact Kellie Jessimie on 020 7307 3593.

Highly charged

31 October, 2006
Exorbitant credit card charges are at the centre of the toughest battle being faced by retailers in the US, according to Hank Armour, president and CEO of the National Association of Convenience stores, which represents the US convenience and petroleum retailing industry.

In the surgery this month

31 October, 2006
It's more than two years since I 'stealthchecked' an Esso 'On the Run' and I thought it time to have another look. This time I wen to Baynards Green Service Station - a short distance east off the M40, on the busy A43.

Six degrees of separation..

31 October, 2006
Economists tell us that we live in the age of the brand. A litre of cola isn't worth much as a commodity, but stick the right corporate logo on the bottle and watch it suddenly become liquid gold. The global companies who own the right labels to go on that bottle are worth a fortune - far more than the value of the product they have in stock, or the physical plant and equipment they use to produce and distribute it. Likewise a litre of petrol is pretty much just another litre of petrol, but the major oil companies have always tried to project (and protect) their own brand as unique, or at least different, and have jealously guarded their corporate name and logo.

keeping it in the family

31 October, 2006
The Brocklehursts have always liked to be first. In 1973 their site was the first in Northampton to go self-service and over the years they have continued to innovate and stay ahead of the competition, racking up a string of further 'firsts' along the way. So when Karl Brocklehurst stepped up to collect the industry's highest accolade at the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards, the family business was right where it likes to be - firmly in the limelight.

Two-way solution

31 October, 2006
Gilbarco Veeder-Root will be teaming up with secure payment and transaction specialist, Ingenico, to deliver indoor and outdoor payment solutions to forecourt retailers worldwide.

Gourmet coffee

31 October, 2006
A new self-serve gourmet coffee machine is now available to independent retailers following a successful trial by motorway services operator Goldstar Extra.
Stage Two Petrol Vapour Recovery (PVRII) controls came into force at the beginning of October, meaning sites selling more than 3.5 million litres of petrol a year have until January 1, 2010 to fit equipment to capture fumes at the pump.

Five-year pump deal

31 October, 2006
Sainsbury's has signed a new five-year deal for Dresser Wayne Pignone to continue to provide its fuel dispensing equipment. Its forecourts currently feature Dresser Wayne's Opus fuel pumps, which are apparently popular with customers, due to their functionality and long-hose reach.

Season's eatings

31 October, 2006
Kettle Chips has launched a limited-edition range of four festive flavours - three of which are available exclusively to the grocer multiples, with one available to all retailers including forecourts. That flavour is apple, sage & thyme

Squeezing out more

31 October, 2006
Total company sites are among those stocking the Feel Good Drinks Company's new range of 100% squeezed juices.

Flash snowman from CarPlan

31 October, 2006
A fun flashing snowman is among the festive additions to Tetrosyl's CarPlan range of air fresheners.

Rennie's new TV run

31 October, 2006
Rennie returns to TV screens this month with a national ad campaign in readiness for the Christmas season, when the brand experiences a 30% sales uplift.

Bitesize After Eights

31 October, 2006
Nestlé Rowntree is rebranding its Mint Munchies product as After Eight. The impulse packs, rrp 51p, contain dark chocolate with a mint centre. "New After Eight bitesize combines the popular Mint Munchies product with the strength of the After Eight brand," says the Nestlé UK trade communications manager Graham Walker.

Pomegranate added to J2O

31 October, 2006
A limited-edition orange & pomegranate flavour has been added to Britvic's J20 range to help drive sales of adult soft drinks during the Christmas period. It will be available for six months. J20 is now worth more than £42m in the take-home category, and last year accounted for 66% of the £18.5m growth in the adult category.

Taste of the Orient in a pot

31 October, 2006
Country Choice has extended its range of chilled 'grab & go' snacks with the introduction of three new Oriental noodle shaker pots.

Taut moves into PET

31 October, 2006
A move from pouch to PET format is expected to boost sales of Taut - described as the first 'clean' sports drink - and cement its position in the £140m sports drink category.

Premium smokes

31 October, 2006
Premium cigarettes are still the best sellers in forecourts, according to Imperial Tobacco's latest category overview.


31 October, 2006
"is there one or two? Well, if you lot can't agree how do you expect me to decide?" So might the imaginary conversation go at the Competition Commission during its investigation into the grocery market. Predictably, the arguments put forward by the hypers et al are very much along the lines of self-interest. Tesco says there's only one. Morrisons agrees (although I'm not quite sure why) while, predictably, Asda and Sainsbury claim there are two. And as for good old M&S's suggestion that you have to consider the type of retailer, well that could lead to a definition of four or five markets!

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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 »