The cost of running a car fell in December, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. Its Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed a
Tchibo and Esso have withdrawn advertising posters at petrol stations after discovering they featured a slogan which was used by the Nazis on the gate at the Buchenwald concentration camp. The ad campaign, which began in early January, used the expression
The government is planning to introduce fixed penalty fines for drive-offs at petrol stations. The proposal, which would mean an on-the-spot-fine of £80 for offenders, is part of a new raft of extra powers proposed to be added to the controversial fixed penalty fines. Others include being caught with
The Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA) has moved to allay retailer concerns about its future direction, amid widespread rumours that its days were numbered, and that director Ray Holloway had quit. Retailers have been withholding their membership fees as
As the year kicks off it's like waking up in a bad dream - the things we have known and trusted for so long are disintegrating before our eyes. It seems as though nothing can be relied upon, whether it's a world-renowned bank or your local branch of Woolies. And now we wait to see what will become of the PRA.
Philip and Lesley Tout walked away with plenty of accolades for their Budgens Nailsea store at our Awards, including the prestigious Forecourt Trader of the Year award as well as Best Independent with nine sites or less, and category winner for the Best Neighbourhood site.
== Best confectionery outlet - sponsored by NestlÉ ==
With more people watching what they spend, will the luxury of a shop-bought lunch be forsaken for a home-made butty? Homeware and hardware chain Robert Dyas has reported a 68% year-on-year rise in sales of lunch-boxes but the sandwich and food-to-go suppliers to the forecourt trade remain pretty upbeat about the future.
When's the last time you cleaned out your tanks? If the answer is not within the last few years then it could be time to act now - and avoid disaster later.
The next few months are bulging with gift-selling opportunities, with Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Easter just around the corner.
Retailer Jonathan James has got the green light to build a new site following a three year battle with the local planning authorities in Cambridgeshire. Jonathan, who estimates the fight has cost him about £70,000 in legal fees and numerous reports and studies, received the news that the site could go ahead after councillors at East
Following a roller coaster year, the petrol retailing sector is trying to look for the positives as 2009 gets under way. Retailer Jonathan James, of James Graven & Sons, said he was feeling more confident than a few months ago, and this was largely due to
BP is back at the International Forecourt & Fuel Equipment (IFFE) Show for 2009. The oil giant is expected to showcase its Connect Wild Bean Café franchise
Blackburn-based Euro Garages, which is number five in our Top 50 Indies listing for 2008, has converted all its company-owned stores to Spar.
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is holding its Summit '09 in Birmingham on April 30th. Guest speakers at the association's flagship event include David Smith, CEO of research company Global Futures and Foresight. An expert panel will also discuss future predictions for the industry.
Do you think the changes announced in the Government's Pre-Budget Report are likely to have a positive effect on your business?
The government's announcement on the tobacco display ban was met with shock and disbelief by the industry last month. Experts warned retailers they would end up shouldering the financial burden of
GENERAL APPEARANCE: U&I Fuels Service Station & Shop is located at the entrance to the village of Stadhampton. The site displays a sign 'last fuel before M40' and 'Under New Management'.
All of those desperate economic rescue initiatives from November onwards - you remember - slashing base rate by several percentage points, pumping billions into the retail environment through the VAT rate cut, industry after industry pleading for bail out. And that was before Woolies went to the wall. We might have guessed that the government had seen some then-unpublished economic figures and realised that they were staring into the abyss. Then in December we saw our own Database figures from October's trading results, and realised just how dramatically things seemed to have crashed.
== Following Tesco with off-the-peg premises ==
The industry has probably had one of its toughest years ever, with many oil companies battening down the hatches, and keeping a close eye on expenditure. But at Gulf Retail, according to its director Keith Jewers, while the company continues to approach business with its usual prudence and caution, it has not curtailed investment and is continuing to develop new products so that its dealers can benefit.
While all around property prices are crashing, there's one sector where demand is still outstripping supply and prices are holding up quite well. That is, of course, the forecourt sector and while buyers are not prepared to pay 'silly money' for sites any more, they're willing to pay a realistic amount. Mark Frostick, associate at motor trade and roadside at Rapleys, says yes, values have dropped but adds: "I think prices would have come down anyway - they went as high as they were ever going to get. We're definitely at much more sensible levels now." He also reports quite a lot of interest in the market. "Twelve to 18 months ago we were getting 20 bids per site. Now we're down to six to 12 bids per site but that's still very good."
PetroTechnik has introduced a range of new products designed to make its UPP underground pipework system easier to install and use, including an electrofusion chamber.
Nestlé Professional has launched its new Go Large coffee offering aimed at increasing retailer profits.
Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE) has launched a bespoke off-trade website - http://trade.cokecce.co.uk.
Searle Manufacturing Company says it has tailored its new ME range of air-cooled condensers to include the high-performance and cost-competitive options needed by c-stores.
Wrigley has launched a new premium mint aimed at younger shoppers.
Nestlé Confectionery has relaunched some of its popular chocolate biscuit bars with a 99-calorie content. Blue Riband, Breakaway, Toffee Crisp and Drifter all now have a new pack design featuring a '99 calories' flash on the front to communicate the change to shoppers.
Specialist confectionery cash and carry company Hancocks has announced a price fix on its entire share bag range for 2009.
Mars is giving retailers the chance to win £1,000-worth of free stock.
Cadbury Roses is celebrating its 70th birthday with a packaging redesign. Cadbury says the new look brings a contemporary feel to the iconic brand and is designed to appeal to younger consumers while not alienating core, loyal purchasers. It is meant to make the product look like an informal wrapped gift. The Roses brand name is given its own place on pack via a gift card on the front, aimed at improving the product's gift appeal and shelf stand out.
Imperial Tobacco has brought out pricemarked packs of Golden Virginia.
Birds Eye starts its value campaign this month, offering £1 deals across a range of products.
United Biscuits (UB) has relaunched its Phileas Fogg range of premium snacks for 2009.
The Wrigley Company is giving readers the chance to win £250-worth of products from its top-selling ranges - Extra, Orbit Complete and Airwaves. There is one prize of a selection of Wrigley products including the recently-launched Extra Ice Mints.
Lucozade Sport has relaunched Hydro Active in a bid to drive brand awareness.
Phileas Fogg has brought out a new range of savoury snacks with what it says are "authentic tastes from around the world".
British company PinProtect has launched a new security product designed to protect Chip & Pin users and retailers from fraud.
With due acknowledgement to Queen Liz, for most forecourt traders 2008 truly was an 'annus horribilus' (please note that, in deference to some of my more demure readers, I spelt the word 'annus' with double 'n' when probably the single 'n' version would more accurately reflect the views of the majority!).