The proportion of fuel-only forecourts shoppers is continuing to rise, but one in five shopping at petrol stations are only buying shop items, according to findings from HIM’s Convenience Tracking Programme 2011.

Murco Petroleum has signed a five-year retail branded distributorship agreement with NWF Fuels, one of the UK’s leading fuel distributors with a dealer network of around 80 forecourts.

Strathclyde Police has broadened its association with the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) and independent retailers to introduce Forecourt Watch in East Kilbride and Strathaven in a bid to tackle drive-offs.

Riddesdell Brothers service station in Boxford, Suffolk has been named Europe’s oldest recorded working garage.

Top 50 Independent Bishop Retail is gearing up for festivities across the Royal Wedding bank holiday weekend with fancy-dress and fundraising fun days.

Thirty-two SPAR stores from the estates of A F Blakemore and Son Limited and Capper & Co Limited are being marketed for sale by retail business advisor Christie & Co.

A decision at the Court of Session in Scotland to allow BP and Marks & Spencer's Simply Food to sell alcohol at its forecourts in Edinburgh and Glasgow is expected to open the floodgates for more off licence applications north of the border.

Jet is encouraging young drivers to be safe on the road by giving out road safety packs on 38 sites across the UK.

Digital media network owner Amscreen has today announced a deal with motorway services operator, Welcome Break, for 63 digital signage screens to be installed in the WHSmith-branded stores and forecourt stores within its motorway service areas.

A luxury hotel in Bournemouth is giving away free petrol with bookings. The four-star Norfolk Royale will refund the cost of a tank of petrol to couples who stay for three nights in an executive room.

Motorists will face increasingly long queues at petrol stations unless fuel retailers install new payment technologies such as pay-at-pump systems, according to a new report by Datamonitor.


13 April, 2011

Write your name, address and phone number on a postcard or sealed envelope stating what you want – Fairy or Varta  – and we'll do the rest, including delivery. Send it to us at Forecourt Trader, William Reed Business Media, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT by April 30, 2011.

The Co-operative Group has bought DAB Stores, the garage forecourt and supermarket business in Minsterley, Shropshire in a deal worth in the region of £1.6 million, in a further signal of its intent to make significant store acquisitions.

DTZ has been chosen as a partner by Statoil Fuel & Retail to support the development of a real estate asset management strategy across its broad retail network.

Fuel prices have hit a new record high following a week in which oil prices soared to $121 a barrel. The Financial Times reported the figure was a record

Independent retailers are being encouraged to take part in the major public consultation launched by the Secretary of State for Business today that is giving local shops the opportunity to explain which regulations that cause them a burden should go.

An enterprising West Midlands recycler is giving people the chance to swap their old clothes for petrol.

Small business owners are being urged to be aware of new legislation which came into effect on April 6.
This 'common commencement date' saw a raft of important changes to the law, including increases in statutory sick pay, changes in tax rates and the end of most employers’ abilities to forcibly retire staff.

Independent convenience retailer Peregrine Retail opened its first redeveloped forecourt at Ringwood, Hampshire today.

Mobil Oil has launched a new online tool to help consumers select and buy the correct engine oil for their car and show them where to buy it from their nearest Esso forecourt.

A consortium of investors that includes Snax 24 has entered exclusive talks to buy the Total UK network, the Financial Times has reported today.

The Co-operative has invested in a range of retail systems to better integrate the convenience and fuel sides of its forecourt business

RMI Petrol will be holding its regional meeting in Durham on April 5, 2011. Held at the Ramside Hall Hotel, just off the A1 in Carrville, will start at 10am and conclude at 2pm after a free buffet lunch.

A new AdBlue dispensing system is being installed at the BP Thetford West site operated by MRH (GB). Developed by fuel dispensing specialist Dresser Wayne in conjunction with Blue 1, a supplier of AdBlue storage solutions, the new equipment is based on the Dresser Wayne Global Star V AdBlue Dispenser.

Damp squib

01 April, 2011

It seemed like something to celebrate Chancellor George Osborne cut fuel duty by 1ppl and simultaneously axed the dreaded fuel duty escalator, saving 6ppl at the pumps. But, and it's a big but... within days it all turned sour and retailers were being branded 'greedy garages' by the media because motorists who had pulled onto forecourts up and down the country after 6pm on March 23 expecting to find cheaper fuel prices had been sorely disappointed. The government hadn't bothered to explain to the motorist that with wholesale prices still soaring, and duty paid stocks still needing to be sold through, it would take some days before prices would be affected. Had they delayed implementation of the penny duty cut as advised by RMI Petrol everyone would have been happy.

Chancellor George Osborne's decision to cut fuel duty by 1ppl from 6pm on March 23 has enraged retailers as motorists branded them "greedy" when prices at the pump failed to fall immediately as they had expected.

The Top 50 Indies gathered at Forecourt Trader's sixth annual dinner to celebrate the UK's largest independent retailers on February 28.

Go-ahead for display ban

01 April, 2011

Forecourt stores will be banned from displaying tobacco products from April 6, 2015.The amended regulations, as set out in the Department of Health's Tobacco Control Plan, will mean that tobacco products will need to be out of sight in shops, except for temporary displays in certain limited circumstances; but

Fuel could become the highest pence per mile cost of running a company car in less than five years, says CFC Solutions.

MRH adds 10 BP sites

01 April, 2011

The leading Top 50 indie MRH has purchased 10 former BP company-owned sites in Scotland. The company is also renewing supply contracts with BP at a further 11 locations as part of the deal.

in brief

01 April, 2011

Site numbers fall

Shell is aiming to become the most competitive and innovative energy company in the world, according to its latest strategy update, presented by chief executive officer Peter Voser.

Surrey police is using undercover officers in a bid to crack down on drive-offs.

Symonds Forecourts has opened its fifth Londis store. Located on a forecourt in Gloucester, it is one of seven forecourt sites owned and operated by the West Country company. The firm is also about to open its third Budgens store on a forecourt in Wells.

Two become one at Spar

01 April, 2011

West Midlands-based AF Blakemore & Son has acquired the business of fellow Spar wholesaler South Wales-based Capper & Co.

Retailers and trade associations have united in their disappointment that a tobacco display ban will go ahead in England despite any credible evidence that concealing gantries reduces smoking.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Ullswater Road Garage is located at the entrance to Penrith just metres from the M6, the A66 and the North Eastern gateway to the Lake District, the A592.

And so we had the Coalition government's first 'regular' Budget on March 23, awaited for with much anticipation by fuel users and petrol retailers alike. First let's just remind ourselves that as Mr Osborne got up to speak, typical pump prices were around 133.9ppl for unleaded petrol, and 139.9 for diesel, with motorway and rural sites trading at considerably higher prices. In the weeks leading up to Budget day there had been a lot of speculation about several possible moves in relation to fuel pricing: an immediate scrapping of the next fuel duty rise which was due this month; a reduction in VAT on fuel; and a longer-term 'fuel price compensation' mechanism to balance the duty on fuel against the price of oil.

Poor partners

When times get tough, as they certainly seem to be in some quarters, you would think that your suppliers would try even harder to work with you. I was recently contacted by two forecourt operators who were having horrendous problems with their distributors/suppliers. I offered to highlight their situation through this column but both thought twice about it worrying about upsetting their already-teetering apple carts.

Reach for the stars

01 April, 2011

The Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards are the showcase for the petrol retailing industry and this year they have been revamped and relaunched to give every forecourt retailer the chance to win something.

Here come the girls

01 April, 2011

Two lovely ladies from The Sun were in attendance at IFFE 2011 to support the newspaper's Keep It Down fuel duty campaign. They certainly attracted a lot of attention. RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson said: "The Page 3 girls from The Sun were a mega attraction for us. Several hundred extra signatures were obtained from exhibitors and visitors alike and these were sent on to the newspaper."

Against all odds

01 April, 2011

It's any retailer's nightmare: exchanging on a new site only to discover just one month later that the busy A-road the forecourt is located on is due for an imminent change, potentially drawing trade away.

Value for visitors

01 April, 2011

Mary Portas is just one of the star attractions at this year's Pro-retail show, which takes place at the International Centre in Telford on May 10-11. The independent retail champion will give three presentations per day on how to run a successful convenience store (see right). Palmer and Harvey marketing director Richard Hayhoe says the wholesaler is always trying to refresh Pro-retail to add "maximum value".

The name game

01 April, 2011

More and more forecourt retailers are looking for new and different revenue streams to help them compete in tough trading conditions. Whether it be for coffee or food to go, DVD rental or other non-food offerings such as greetings cards, retailers are teaming up with big brand names to make their business stand out.

Ice picks

01 April, 2011

If you want to sell more ice cream you've got to treat it more like other impulse categories. That's the message from Melanie Rolfe, senior category manager for impulse ice cream at Unilever. "It's all about getting the basics right and treating ice cream like you treat confectionery to drive impulse sales," she says.

Car cash

01 April, 2011

Margins are good. There's no hassle with short shelf life, so why are so many forecourts ignoring car care items? It seems the lure of selling chilled ready meals and every variety of soft drink possible has pushed car accessories out the door. However Graham Tissiman, sales and marketing manager at the Convenience Distribution Group (CDG), reckons car care is worth stocking: "Not only does it satisfy customers' expectations, it also is the second highest profit making category in terms of percentage margin (behind hot drinks-to-go). Unlike fresh or chilled food, with car accessories there is not the problem of sell-by dates or the running cost of the chiller cabinets. There is very limited investment in running the category in terms of equipment, stock or labour costs. We deliver in single units so there is not the problem of storing cases of products and we offer merchandising and seasonal re-profiling assistance via our trained sales reps."

Fuel dispenser and technology provider Dresser Wayne has formed a partnership with the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI).

Tobacco dispenser

01 April, 2011

Tobacco vending machine supplier Jofemar UK has launched an automatic cigarette dispenser system for retail outlets.

Express coffee offer

01 April, 2011

Coffee-to-go supplier Coffee Nation has further developed its range of coffee systems with a pay-at-the-machine solution in partnership with KMF (Precision Sheet Metal).

Petrotec unveils IFSF

01 April, 2011

Forecourt technology provider Petrotec has launched the IFSF (International Forecourt Standards Forum) Plug-in, a software tool that is able to transform any POS system into a fully fledged IFSF-certified system.

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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 »