Car wash threats

07 June, 2007
Good news that the Association of Convenience Stores is to establish a formal group to tackle the many threats facing forecourt car wash operators.

in brief

01 May, 2007
Following the successful one-day event last October, the Biodiesel Expo 2007 has been extended to two days. It will take place at the Newark Showground in Nottinghamshire on October 17-18.
A new group which will tackle the threats surrounding the traditional car wash industry is to be launched this month by the Association of Convenience Stores, Forecourt Trader has learned.
Former Forecourt Trader of the Year award winner Susie Hawkins has opened the first Budgens forecourt store in Wales.
Electronic payment and ordering will play a much bigger part in the convenience sector in the next five years, according to grocery industry body, IGD.

Trip treat from Maxol

01 May, 2007
The most dedicated and hard-working Maxol retailers are going on an all-expenses-paid luxury weekend to Barcelona.
LPG autogas is the answer to reducing motor carbon emissions, according to Mike Chapman, autogas manager for the LP Gas Association. He said that while the debate continues about the carbon benefits of biofuels, it is a known fact that LPG reduces emissions from petrol vehicles by 20%. In addition vehicles using LPG enjoy major air quality benefits when compared with their diesel counterparts.
Oil companies must work their fuel cards harder to counter the threat from commercial credit cards, warns a new report from Datamonitor.

Crime by numbers

01 May, 2007
Fuel buyers could be forgiven for feeling uneasy next time they hand over their plastic at the filling station.
Following Westbridge Motors of Northampton winning the Forecourt Trader of the Year 2006 award, I visited its website to find out more about the business. It's an informative website and gives focused details of a many-faceted business.

Fuel for thought

01 May, 2007
Virtually every business - and that includes petrol retailers - claims back the VAT on the petrol/diesel that it buys for its own consumption. Naturally HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has always assumed that at least some of that fuel is actually used for 'private' mileage.
This story has worrying implications, possibly, for quite a few retailers. So do you know what 'zone' your forecourt is in, water-wise?
Biodiesel in some form or other is here to stay - if only to reduce the UK's dependency on petroleum - so we might as well take the time to understand the pros and cons of using this fuel and the cautions that apply.

Pump stakes

01 May, 2007
With all the talk about profits that can be made from the shop side of the business, it could be easy for the forecourt retailer to lose sight of the one thing that sets his operation apart from all the convenience stores in his vicinity. And that of course is the fuel, and the reason why most of his customers set foot on his site in the first place. And that fuel is no good to anyone without the pumps that dispense it. But just how much attention do you pay to your pumps? Are you certain that they are all working properly and that they are not coughing and spluttering and splattering your customers in fuel? And, more importantly, not over-dispensing and giving away your precious profits?

Summer lovin'

01 May, 2007
It looks like we're in for another hot one as the latest seasonal forecast from the Met Office reveals that this summer is likely to be warmer than normal. Indeed seasonal forecasters say the chances of temperatures similar to those experienced in 2003 and 2006 are around one in eight. Sounds great but retailers need to be ready for it so keeping an eye on the weather forecasts is vital. The BBC website can give you a five-day forecast for your local area - handy for consumers planning picnics and for retailers planning stock levels.

Fluid thinking

01 May, 2007
When it comes to soft drinks, forecourts are different to every other retail channel. In multiples grocers, multiple convenience stores, independents and symbols, colas reign supreme, outselling every other type of soft drink. But in forecourts it's the functional beverages that do best. Think Red Bull, Lucozade and Relentless to name just three.

Plumb passes BP's test

01 May, 2007
David Plumb & Co passed a stringent BP health and safety inspection while decommisioning the former Admiral Service Station in Broomfield Road, Chelmsford, Essex.

Shelfmax website

01 May, 2007
Shelfmax has launched a new website to help c-store retailers gain easier access to its products.

Win with Husky

01 May, 2007
Anyone buying a Husky chiller during this month or next will be entered into a prize draw where they can win tickets to a top cricket match.

Securing your cash

01 May, 2007
Tidel's Sentinel BCD cash management system, which was unveiled at IFFE, is being used by Esso. The first UK site to adopt it is Kings Croft, Leatherhead, Surrey.

Volvic revival

01 May, 2007
New Volvic Revive is a water-based energy drink with no added sugar but added plant extracts including ginseng and guarana.
Pepsi has new pack designs across all formats. In its 109 year existence, the brand's design has changed just 10 times but to keep pace with "the ever-changing interests of today's consumers", six different pack designs are being introduced. There's a lead design for each variant, with 'breakdancer' for Pepsi Max, 'global festivals' for Pepsi and 'chandelier' for Diet Pepsi.
Confectionery continues to provide forecourt retailers with excellent sales opportunities, according to a new report by Mars. The company claims to be the only major confectionery manufacturer to have increased its share of chocolate sales in 2006 (by 0.5% to 27%), despite a slight market decline. Its performance was driven by 2.5% growth in the 'everyday chocolate' category. "Mars' policy of investing in fewer, but bigger and better promotional activities has been very successful in driving incremental sales," says trade relations manager Andrea Taylor. She says retailers can look forward to more of the same in 2007, including a big push behind Snickers, with a link to the new Die Hard 4 film, and a campaign featuring Mr T from the A-Team. In the meantime, forecourt retailers could achieve more than £3,000 worth of extra confectionery sales a year - an extra £700 profit - simply by getting confectionery displays right, with a range and display that reflects shopper behaviour. Sharing bags are increasingly important to forecourts, with bitesize pouches accounting for 20% of total confectionery sales in forecourts, where retailers should also capitalise on the impulse opportunity by stocking their best-selling products at the till.

Yummy new drinks

01 May, 2007
An indulgent dessert in a bottle is how best to describe Yum, a new drinks range from Vimto.
Cadbury Trebor Bassett is spending £6.5m on a six-week campaign for Cadbury Dairy Milk - its biggest spend for any chocolate brand in five years. Activity includes TV, press, outdoor and digital advertising.

KP's big tasty nuts

01 May, 2007
KP Big Nuts are new from United Biscuits (UB).

Game on with Sprite

01 May, 2007
The latest on-pack promotion from Coca-Cola Enterprises gives consumers the chance to win 'The Ultimate Nintendo Wii Games Room'. Ten prizes are up for grabs every day throughout May and June. The prizes comprise a Nintendo Wii, a sports game, plasma screen and a mini fridge full of Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper.

Pots of real food

01 May, 2007
Heinz has launched a rival to Pot Noodle. Called Big Eat, the range of microwaveable pot snacks - rrp £1.39 - are targeted at teenagers after 'real food, real fast'.

Black slides in

01 May, 2007
Gallaher has added a Black variant to its Benson & Hedges line-up.

Chilled coffee boost

01 May, 2007
Emmi UK has secured a listing in Total forecourts for its Caffé Latte premium chilled coffee drink. There are three varieties: cappuccino, macchiato and light - all made with Swiss alpine milk. New to the range is a choco latte variant made with Swiss milk chocolate.

Spice up your shelves

01 May, 2007
McCormick & Company, which owns the Schwartz brand, recently announced plans to grow the herb and spice category in 2007.
Frederick's Dairies is continuing to add to its popular range of Del Monte kids' ices with the launch of a new Fruitini blackcurrant & apple lolly.


01 May, 2007
So, another May, another round of local elections. As Tony prepares to ride off into the sunset (and no doubt start earning enough from the after-dinner speaker roadshow to make him the major breadwinner in the Blair household for the first time), and Prudence readies himself to get his own hands on power, it is no surprise to see the government launching all sorts of 'new' initiatives in a forlorn hope of swaying the voters. Now although the number of voters that need swaying at local elections is probably less than a season's attendance figures at the Theatre of Dreams, certain policies have a sense of déjà vu.

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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 »