Anxious retailers have demanded reassurance from retail systems provider Torex Retail after it became the subject of a Serious Fraud Office investigation this week.

Mike Jennings

01 February, 2007
== What is Stage II Vapour Recovery? ==

All hands to the pump

01 February, 2007
Imagine the scene 14 years ago. A half-acre plot of land - part of the Ministry of Defence Army barracks - on the outskirts of Honiton in Devon, comes up for sale. It is surrounded by nothing more than fields and open spaces - and a minor road. Interested? Steve Parks was, and he bought it.

Protect your assets

01 February, 2007
Crime on the Forecourt has long been a huge headache for the petrol retailing fraternity, as was confirmed by a recent survey which showed that safety and security at work concerned nearly half of all forecourt staff questioned.

Full of beans

01 February, 2007
Inside the home, we Brits remain a nation of tea drinkers, but step outside the front door and premium coffee has become the hot drink of choice. As big brands such as Starbucks and Costa dominate the high-street coffee bars, discerning drivers are also increasingly on the look out for a high quality cup of coffee.

Little extras

01 February, 2007
In just six weeks in 2004, DSL sold 1.8 million solar lights from garage forecourts up and down the country. Talk about having the right product at the right price, in the right place at the right time."They were just stab-in-the-ground solar lights selling at 3.99 but they generated retail sales of nearly 7m," explains Linda Horton, southern UK area manager.
Sign installation and maintenance specialist Xmo Strata has called for sign and canopy manufacturers to make forecourt signs more robust in the wake of a two-month spell of abnormally high winds during which a 58-year-old man was killed when a canopy on a Sainsbury's forecourt in Lancashire fell on him.

Curb rogue washers says ACS

01 February, 2007
Greater enforcement of existing car wash regulations is being demanded of the government by the Association of Convenience Stores. Chief executive, James Lowman, said: "There needs to be greater enforcement against rogue operators who regularly flout environmental and health and safety laws."
As the Competition Commission's investigation into the grocery market moves on to local retailing issues, PRA boss Ray Holloway has admitted he's pessimistic about the results. "My money is firmly on the CC deciding that the general offer by all supermarkets is competitive and beneficial to communities, and as a result it will not intervene," he told Forecourt Trader.

Owner told to clean up his act

01 February, 2007
In the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, a Hollywood filling station owner has been fined 2,000 and ordered to pay compensation of 3,500 to a motorist under the Clean Air Act.
Growth in forecourt property values has more than doubled in the past year, according to agents Christie & Co.

In brief

01 February, 2007
BP has agreed to sell its Coryton Refinery to Petroplus Holdings AG for $1.4bn, subject to required regulatory approvals. The two companies have also entered into a long-term supply agreement which will provide BP's UK-based retail and other businesses with the products they require.

Fuel prices - January 29, 2007

05 February, 2007

Waiting game

01 February, 2007
News that Torex Retail plc was being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, shortly after it had announced a dire profits warning followed by a suspension of share dealing, has sent shivers down the spines of the many forecourt operators who use the company's retail systems.

In the surgery this month

01 February, 2007
General Appearance: Driving from the Manor House area along the very busy A503 Seven Sisters Road towards Finsbury Park, I made a 'stealthcheck' on what I thought would be a cutting-edge, gold mine of a Jet Service Station and shop. Wow, what a surprise - this is in fact a very run-down and very disappointing site.

Tick tock

01 February, 2007
Although we've written frequently about the problems encountered when someone suddenly moves from operating one or two sites to a multi-site operation, we make no apology for returning to the issue. This is because some of these operators are about to hit their first accounting year-end.
Neil McCarthy, who runs MPM Services in Suffolk, rang to ask if he had heard right. Was holiday entitlement for workers going up from 20 days a year to 28? And is it a done deal?

Final countdown

01 February, 2007
== Best oil company initiative - winner ==

Big pay off

01 February, 2007
Texaco has reached an agreement with branded payment collection network, Payzone, which will see services actively marketed to its dealer network.

Protect and serve

01 February, 2007
A device to protect customers from Chip & PIN fraud is to be introduced nationwide by Ingenico UK, following a successful trial at a Boots store in Cambridge.

Speedy soak up

01 February, 2007
A new type of industrial absorbent, which is said to soak up oil and fuel spills faster than traditional clay granules, is available from Yorkshire-based Northern Insulation Pipeline Stockists (NIPS).

Smart message system

01 February, 2007
A new directional sound system, available from Audionation, can help retailers to deliver audio messages to customers, without annoying staff, says company director, Mark Webster.

Healthier snacks

01 February, 2007
Walkers is relaunching its Quavers, Monster Munch, Squares and French Fries with significant reductions in their saturated fat and salt content.

Twix's icy comeback

01 February, 2007
Masterfoods has unveiled its ice cream line up for 2007, following bumper sales during last year's hot summer when the impulse ice cream market grew by 7.9%.
Ginsters has launched a new range of sub-style rolls. There are three varieties, all made using a premium white-bread roll that has a specially-enriched dough which is meant to maintain its fresh-baked characteristics for longer.

Spotlight on Maoam

01 February, 2007
A high-profile advertising and online campaign aims to keep Haribo's Maoam brand in the spotlight in 2007. TV advertising, which breaks this month and runs into March before a second stint in June, is expected to reach an estimated 22 million consumers across a range of channels - while complying with new Ofcom regulations which restrict advertising to under-16s.

Easter impulse lines

01 February, 2007
A four-strong range of seasonal confectionery products is being launched by Cuisine De France in the run up to Easter.

Organic shake just for men

01 February, 2007
My Goodness has launched what it says is the UK's first organic impulse drink for men.

Natural selection

01 February, 2007
Eat Natural has launched an indulgent new seasonal snack bar, which will be available for a limited period of four months.

Taste of Heaven

01 February, 2007
Nestlé Rowntree is targeting the growing premium chocolate sector with the launch of Heaven, a range of Swiss chocolate with indulgent soft centres.

Rustling up TV ads

01 February, 2007
Kepak Convenience Foods is doubling its annual investment in the Rustlers range of microwaveable snacks.

More meat, less fat

01 February, 2007
Peperami has been relaunched with reduced salt and fat levels across the range, and is being supported by a £4m marketing campaign.


01 February, 2007
Recently that motley crew of the world's most powerful people all met up at Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Despite its name, this Forum doesn't confine itself to economic matters but tries to hold discussions on a wide-ranging set of issues. Of course, Uncle Tony, Prudence Brown and the boy Dave were all in attendance, strutting their stuff and hoping to further their own ambitions.

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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 »