Directors at Aleef Garages are keen to put the past behind them following a court case involving three former directors and a massive tax fraud. Asif Patel (pictured far right with cousin Anis), said Bolton-based Aleef, which runs 39 forecourts, was now a totally different company looking forward to a bright future.

Brutal pricing

05 December, 2007
Shell is certainly pushing the buttons of independent retailers nationwide as it continues with what is emerging as a brutal and incomprehensible pricing stance.

Green with envy

05 December, 2007
We're all been told to do our bit to clean up the planet, but what happens if you're keen to sell 'greener' fuels but your supplier isn't? In fact, what if the oil company slaps you with a ban and tells you that you're not allowed to stock biofuels at all? It doesn't sound very environmentally-friendly, especially in today's climate with the government encouraging us to increase our use of biofuels and cut down on fossil fuels.

Clean up your sales

05 December, 2007
There have been SO many developments in car washes in recent years it would be easy to get left behind. The latest technology means that softer brushes, shiny new car wash enclosures and multi-coloured foam are all the rage. And with increasing competition springing up in non-forecourt locations, as well as the - sometimes illegal - hand wash operations, the days of being able to leave your car wash to take care of itself in the corner of the forecourt are long gone.

Filled with Opportunity

05 December, 2007
The big three chocolate manufacturers - Cadbury Trebor Bassett (CTB), Mars and Nestlé Rowntree - all have the same message for forecourt retailers in the run up to Easter 2008. Stock up on filled and mini eggs, they say, and cash in on the impulse sales they bring.

Sniffing out profits

05 December, 2007
It's that time of year again - yes of course it's nearly Christmas, but it's also peak season for coughs and colds. But do you see yourself as a purveyor of pills and potions to see off these nasty bugs? Because, according to David Alston, national account manager at the Convenience Distribution Group (CDG), you should. "At CDG our raison d'etre is car care, but as our name says, we are about convenience - and so too are all forecourts. That means stocking over-the-counter medicines for headaches, colds and flu. And because these products are kept behind the counter, the category doesn't get the TLC it deserves, but consumers do expect to be able to buy Nurofen at the forecourt on their way to work."
Retailers are calling on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate Shell's "unfair" pricing policy which they say is "murdering" the industry. Independents want OFT officers to tackle what they see as aggressive pricing because they feel simply unable to compete in the current climate. With oil prices rising to sky high levels, retailers are having to respond by upping their own prices -
Malthurst (UK) Limited and Refined Holdings Limited - of which Pace Petroleum is a part - have become wholly-owned subsidiaries of a new holding company, MRH (GB) Ltd - which has also bought two property companies. The new company is owned by Graham Peacock, Susan Tobbell, Fraser Duffin and Andrew Jackson, all of whom hold directorships and senior management positions within both Refined

PRA buys BigOil.net

05 December, 2007
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has bought fuel price supplier BigOil.net.
Total welcomed 40 dealers to its anniversary seminar at Fawsley Hall in Northamptonshire last month, in recognition of one year of the COGOP - company owned group operator. Total's retail director Marc Dagniaux announced last year that the company wanted to get closer to dealer groups because it could see the benefit of working together in complementary

Thumbs up for Lee

05 December, 2007
Lee Nicholls, who runs St.Matthews Service Station in Leicester, has a novel way of dealing with customers who fill up then say they cannot pay - he uses an £8 ink pad to take their thumb prints.
Roydon Service Station in Norfolk, which closed for business at the begining of the year when the owner wanted to retire, has re-opened as a Gulf site.

in brief

05 December, 2007
The UK's first bioethanol plant has been officially opened in Norfork by British Sugar. Located next to the company's beet sugar factory in Wissington, the plant aims to produce 70m litres of bioethanol per year from 110,000 tonnes of locally-grown sugar beet. The sugar factory will use its combined heat and power plant to provide energy for the bioethanol plant.
Do you agree with the Competition Commission's findings that large grocery retailers do not put convenience stores at a disadvantage?

'Greavous' harm

05 December, 2007
As Shell continues its relentless cut-price fuel strategy, the rest of the petrol retailing industry continues to scratch its head in total disbelief. None more so than independent dealer Graham Greaves, who runs a third-generation family-run petrol forecourt and coach business - Henry Cooper, Lane End Garage in Annitsford, Northumberland -with his wife Pamela and
GENERAL APPEARANCE: As it's over a year since I visited an Esso On the Run site, I decided to 'stealthcheck' the next one I saw. Just on the southern edge of Banbury, on the A4260 Oxford Road, I saw the distinctive pole of an Esso On the Run and pulled in to make a visit.

Fuel price shock?

05 December, 2007
Most people have been dreading it for a long time, but we've now broken through the £1-per-litre barrier at the pumps and this time it's probably for keeps. Sure, as this is being written, some sites are still selling unleaded at 99.9ppl, but it's unlikely that they'll be able to keep that up for much longer.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

05 December, 2007
== Another abuse of power ==

Fantastic four

05 December, 2007
There was stiff competition in the main route category of this year's Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards.

More from your mobile

05 December, 2007
Visa Europe is trialling the 02 Wallet in the UK to examine the use of mobile phones to make purchases, access events or be used as Oyster cards for travel around London - simply by touching the phone to a reader.

Ring the changes

05 December, 2007
Scotsman Beverage Systems is launching its Ice Bell chiller in the UK.

Coffee for a quid

05 December, 2007
Somerfield has teamed up with Simply Coffee to provide coffee at 100 of its forecourts.

Compact printer

05 December, 2007
Kodak has introduced an entry-level kiosk to offer smaller stores its self-service digital picture printing. The Kodak Picture Kiosk GS Compact is aimed at outlets with a print demand of 30-50 prints a day. The machine is a small, countertop unit which is simple to install and offers 4"x6", 5"x7" and 6"x8" prints.

Goo-d campaign

05 December, 2007
Cadbury Creme Eggs will get an early sales push next year via a £4.5m ad campaign.

More Proper pasties

05 December, 2007
The Proper Cornish Food Company is launching a new range of premium pre-packed pasties.

Anchor's free-range spend

05 December, 2007
Anchor is spending heavily on advertising in the run up to Christmas to spread its free-range message.

Fanta gets a facelift

05 December, 2007
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is launching a juicy version of its Relentless energy drink brand containing 50% fruit juice.

Red Bull's big push

05 December, 2007
Red Bull is spending more than £2m to drive customer awareness this Christmas. Activity will include TV and cinema advertising.

Kellogg's fruity new snacks

05 December, 2007
Kellogg's is entering the fruit snack market with a new range called FruitaBu. Launching in January, the products are made entirely from fruit and fruit juice and contain no added sugar, artificial colours or flavours.

Quattro makeover

05 December, 2007
Wilkinson Sword has relaunched its Quattro razors targeting younger customers.

Lil-Lets lightens up

05 December, 2007
Lil-Lets is introducing a new light tampon in the new year. Called Lil-Lets Lite, the non-applicator tampon claims to be the lowest absorbency tampon in the UK. It is aimed at women during their lighter days and at new users at the younger end of the market.

Big squeeze

05 December, 2007
Heinz is branching out into mustard for the first time with a product aimed at those who like milder sauces.

Healthy pasta pots to go

05 December, 2007
Pasta King has launched a new range of pasta pots aimed at healthy snackers.

Luscious new launch

05 December, 2007
Dove is adding a new range of luxury body washes to its collection.

Electric dreams

05 December, 2007
Gallaher is giving Forecourt Trader readers the chance to win a Sony DVD player and an outer of Hamlet cigars. In addition, four runners-up will each win an outer of Hamlet cigars to sell in store.

Wrigley offers you extra

05 December, 2007
The Wrigley Company is giving Forecourt Trader readers the chance to win products from its new Extra Fusion range.

How to enter Giveaways

05 December, 2007
To win, simply write your name, address and telephone number on a postcard or a sealed envelope stating what you want Hamlet or Wrigley and we'll do the rest, including delivery. Send it to Forecourt Trader, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT by December 31, 2007.

Mo'gas

05 December, 2007
Last month, while trying to fathom out Shell's kamikaze fuel pricing policy, I posed the question 'Do you have to keep your fuel price highly competitive in order to sustain your c-store turnover?'. Now they say that, when cross examining, a good barrister never asks a witness a question that he doesn't already know the answer to and I'm beginning to wish I had remembered that advice. As Shell continues to increase its blitzkrieg on the independent dealers' margin, and as I continue to struggle to understand what the hell it is up to, I can't stop this bloody question rattling around in my head.

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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 »

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