in brief

06 September, 2007
The Maxol Group has announced that it is replacing its regular unleaded petrol with its new E5 fuel - a blend of 95% petrol and 5% locally- produced ethanol - at all its 150 sites in Ireland.
As parts of the country mop up after the floods, do you believe you are adequately covered for damage to property and loss of business following such a disaster?

PRA pushes for grants scheme

06 September, 2007
The government is being urged to take action and inject public funds into struggling forecourts. The Petrol Retail Association (PRA) is calling on Westminster to consider a grant scheme similar to one already operating in Scotland. The plea comes in light of the latest figures from forecourt network specialist Catalist, which shows that by the end of 2007, there will be just 9,300 forecourts left in the UK
The 'Long Way Round' was obviously not enough for actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, as the pair have just completed the 'Long Way Down'.

Linda joins the team

06 September, 2007
Meet Linda Harrison - our new features editor who joins from the Daily Star.
Shell UK has agreed terms to create a long-term relationship with the Swayfields Group under which it will take operational control of a package of filling stations across the UK. It will take new long-term leases on all Swayfields Group existing and new development motorway service area filling stations.

Sudden sympathy

06 September, 2007
Suddenly there seems to be a lot of sympathy for the plight of the poor old service station. Site numbers have been tumbling for years, so it's ironic that when the rate of closure seems actually to be slowing, there's quite a lot of media fuss about it.
Chevron's vice president of marketing in Europe, and keynote speaker at the last Top Indies dinner, John Lynn, and general manager of retail sales, Guy Vigar, are moving on to new roles following a restructure at Chevron Ltd.

ACS slams 'dodgy' comments

06 September, 2007
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has written to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, about her comments blaming 'dodgy off licences' for under-age drinking problems.
Tyre Safe is running a tyre safety awareness campaign throughout October. It was originally planned as a week-long event but following massive interest and support from tyre retailers and manufacturers, it was decided to extend it to a whole month.

Taken for granted

06 September, 2007
The number of petrol stations serving the motoring public has been falling for years but suddenly, it seems, the whole world is beginning to take an interest, with coverage in the national press and on TV and radio bemoaning the loss of the community forecourt.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Leaving Crewkerne town centre, south on the A356 I saw a Texaco pole ahead and as I needed some lunch decided to make a 'stealthcheck' on the site. I parked in a side street as the entrance to the forecourt was blocked, and walked.

Ignorance is no excuse

06 September, 2007
A subject that affects a great many retailers - albeit that they may not realise they are affected - is money laundering. Used in its broadest sense, the term is now taken to refer to any criminal financial activity that crosses over into apparently legitimate business activity. This means that it ranges from using a retail business to recycle 'dirty money' into the commercial banking sector, through to the purchase and sale of stolen goods themselves, to handling the proceeds of theft, fraud or tax evasion.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

06 September, 2007
== Communications R not us ==

Paying a PREMIUM

06 September, 2007
The recent floods will have resulted in retailers across the country frantically checking the finer details of their insurance policies.

A Break with tradition

06 September, 2007
Motorway forecourts are always thought to be a different kettle of fish compared with traditional service stations. They have a captive audience after all - there's no quick way off a motorway if you're in dire need of fuel, a break or any other kind of emergency, and their reputation for astronomical fuel prices is legendary.

Better by design

06 September, 2007
Its forecourt is made from concrete mixed with pieces of recycled glass; its roof has 90 solar panels; and it uses low-energy lighting. However this is not some space-age prototype but a fully operational BP forecourt trading in Los Angeles.

Chocs away

06 September, 2007
When it comes to chocolate, we're all getting a little bit posher in our tastes. Forget your cheap and cheerful offerings, customers increasingly want better quality chocs in fancier packaging. And so it is that the premium sector is one of the main trends driving today's chocolate market for retailers.

Show that you care

06 September, 2007
Ask a consumer where they'd go to buy something for their car and most would probably say Halfords. The car accessory/bike chain is doing very well at the moment. However, according to Graham Tissiman, sales and marketing manager at the Convenience Distribution Group (CDG), forecourts have some major advantages over it. "First there's the forecourts' daily footfall, then there's the fact that most people entering a forecourt are in a car-orientated mood and retailers need to take advantage of this," he says.

Sign of the times

06 September, 2007
Sign installation and maintenance company Xmo Strata has been made the exclusive UK agent for a new-generation sign refurbishment system.

The perfect gift

06 September, 2007
PayPoint retailers can now sign up to sell some of the UK's most popular gift cards. The Gift Card Programme follows a deal between Paypoint - which is now used by more than 1,200 forecourt operators in UK, and Coinstar E-Payment Services, an affiliate of Coinstar.

Waste not want not

06 September, 2007
Retailers are being encouraged to check out a website offering advice on dealing with waste.

Number cruncher

06 September, 2007
Balvin has developed the UK's first refuelling by Vehicle Number Recognition (VNR) system priced at less than £5,000.

I heard a Wispa...

06 September, 2007
Get ready for a trip down memory lane - Wispa is being relaunched.

Wholesome snacks

06 September, 2007
Walkers is launching Sunbites, its first ever wholegrain snack. Made with whole wheat, whole oats and whole corn, they contain 30% less fat than regular crisps.

New Creations from Typhoo

06 September, 2007
Typhoo tea has been given a face-lift to modernise its image, plus there's a new range of fruit and herb teas. Typhoo Fruit Creations include orange & ginseng, known to enhance wellbeing; green rooibos & honey, renowned for its thirst-quenching properties; and a super-fruits infusion, a source of antioxidants with blueberry, blackberry & acai.

Guinness kicks off

06 September, 2007
Diageo GB is investing more than £6m in a new rugby-themed advertising campaign for Guinness to coincide with the World Cup. Entitled "Seconds from Greatness", it highlights the connection between the black stuff and rugby by drawing parallels between the enjoyment of great rugby moments and those of a pint of Guinness.

Galaxy makeover

06 September, 2007
Mars has relaunched its Galaxy bars with a new shape, packaging and a smoother taste.

A berry nice smoothie

06 September, 2007
Innocent has added a goji berry smoothie to its superfoods range.

Say it with sweets

06 September, 2007
If you need an eye-catching promotion this autumn, try new customised Love Hearts.

Smoother smokes

06 September, 2007
Rizla Smooth is the latest addition to Imperial Tobacco's line-up of RYO papers, which will now have nine variants.

Gold rush

06 September, 2007
Kraft Foods is launching a limited-edition Terry's Chocolate Orange Golden Nugget Crunch countline bar.

Tackle this

06 September, 2007
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is giving rugby fans the chance to win tickets to the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

Real honest prize

06 September, 2007
Ginsters has recently revamped its entire sandwich range with eye-catching new pack designs.

Absolutely fabulous, sweetie

06 September, 2007
The Fabulous Bakin' Boys makes an extensive range of sweet treats including muffins, cookies, flapjacks, cupcakes, chocolate waffles and traditional cake slices.


06 September, 2007
So farewell, then, mister cheque - you served us well. Well, actually, if the truth be told you were really a right pain in the arse, but we used to handle a hell of lot of you once upon a time. Check for the Shakespeare hologram, does the sort code match, which building society is it that you can't be certain of, check the signature... the list was endless. Quite how we didn't end up with many more bounced pieces of paper I'll never know. The news that even Sainsbury's has stopped accepting cheques in its stores from August must surely hasten their complete demise from all forms of retail. For once petrol retailers were ahead of the game - most of us had banned them a long time ago, but that didn't stop us from getting stick from the odd customer (and, boy, do we get some odd customers) who reckoned we couldn't refuse his perforation. At least it won't only be 'you petrol retailers' who are accused of being rogues and vagabonds.

How to enter Giveaways

06 September, 2007
T win, simply write your name, address and telephone number on a postcard or a sealed envelope stating what you want Terry's Chocolate Orange, Powerade, Ginsters or Fabulous Bakin' Boys and we'll do the rest, including delivery. Send it to Forecourt Trader, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT by September 30, 2007.

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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 »