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Ray Blake: technical manager PRA

Before joining the Petrol Retailers Association, I spent 35 years ensuring the safety of petrol filling stations within London. During this time, I also implemented and managed 10 Primary Authority Partnerships (PAPs) that had influence over 25% of UK petrol filling stations. Having done this, I knew the benefit of providing such a service to members of the PRA.

Tracy West: Shop Talk

At first glance, I thought the news that most people thought the forthcoming sugar tax on soft drinks also applied to sweets, chocolate, biscuits and cakes was quite shocking. What is more, the Nielsen survey from which the news originated found that 28% of people didn't think it applied to soft drinks. But then I thought about it a bit more and concluded: 'No, not really'. I think that's because things like this are the talk of the industry but the powers that be forget (intentionally or otherwise) to tell the end user ie the consumer. When they changed the legal age for buying cigarettes a few years ago (from 16 to 18) who told the 16- and 17-year-olds? The poor old retailer and their shop staff.

Charlotte Blum: analysis editor, Argus Media

The international crude and petrol markets that underlie fuel prices in UK forecourts are tightening for separate reasons, keeping prices at the pump well supported.

Chris Hunt: UKPIA director general

Well, here we go again! The Prime Minister has fired the starting gun for a General Election, the sound of which has startled many people. It would seem that we have had an overabundance of politics over the past 18 months, what with the Labour party trying to sort itself out, the whole Brexit campaign resulting in the previous Prime Minister, David Cameron, resigning in July 2016 and Theresa May stepping up to the plate. There have also been local government elections and the US Presidential race that seemed to go on forever, all of which has resulted in endless media coverage and comment no wonder we are suffering from 'political brain fade'!

Merril Boulton: editor

Tracy West: Shop Talk

Everyone knows cigarettes are expensive but I was shocked when I recently bought 20 Embassy for Mr West. They cost 9.99. Wow! And those 20 won't even last him one day.

Kevin Eastwood: Executive director, BOSS

Any losses from forecourt crime are unacceptable. We fully understand the pressure this type of crime places on retailers, police and government agencies but by developing new and improved ways of working between police and retailers we will reduce losses and increase recovery rates.

Charlotte Blum: analysis editor, Argus Media

Global crude oil prices are driving fuel prices at the pump, and all eyes are on Opec's attempts to raise them. There are early signs that production cuts are beginning to bite, but producers are facing an uphill struggle.

James Lowman: chief executive, ACS

Since the publication of the revised business rate valuations late last year, a range of business groups including ACS have been campaigning to ensure that those hardest hit by the revaluation will be given appropriate relief, and that beyond the revaluation, the rating system will be reviewed so that everyone pays their fair share. This inequity in the rating system was highlighted when it was revealed that while petrol forecourts are seeing their bills rise, some of the biggest internet distribution warehouses are set to see a fall in their rateable values.

Merril Boulton: editor

Welcome to our new-look Forecourt Trader. Yes, we've had a bit of a refresh, but it's still the same great mix of news, views and retail insight that, according to our latest research, makes Forecourt Trader still your number one trade mag. New additions to look out for include a regular column from Charlotte Blum, analysis editor of Argus Media, who will be giving a steer on oil price movements and how they might impact on prices at the pump.

Tracy West: Shop Talk

Sunday March 26 is Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday. I always take my mum out for Sunday lunch but many families celebrate by eating in, together at home.

David Charman: chairman CWA

Our industry has once again moved into a whole new era, with Tesco taking ownership of Booker and its forecourt brands and the demonisation of diesel as a road fuel.

Brian Madderson: chairman PRA

The anti-diesel bandwagon is rolling. It was tax incentives in 2001 that encouraged both private drivers and businesses to buy diesel engine cars. The justification related to climate change and lower carbon dioxide emissions. The issues of toxic nitrogen oxide and higher levels of particulate matter were known but downplayed. From just 10% of new car registrations in 2000, sales accelerated rapidly such that the car parc was over 50% diesel by 2010. This growth continued and by mid-2015 retail sales of diesel overtook petrol for the first time.

Merril Boulton: editor

The frustration is palpable as the realisation of the impact of changes to business rates being implemented in April is realised in companies big and small across the nation. Media headlines have yelled at every opportunity about the smaller retailers that appear to be being taxed out of business.

Merril Boulton: editor

The momentum around automotive fuels, and what kind of motor vehicles we'll be driving in the future seems to be really building into something more tangible than previously seen. Last month came the news that a global initiative to drive use of hydrogen (see News page 4), had been agreed at the World Economic Forum in Davos. There has been much talk about the merits of hydrogen as an energy resource for a long time, but there have always been many technical issues to be resolved. Clearly much progress in hydrogen and fuel-cell technology is being made, to the point that a group of energy, transport and industry companies aka 'the Hydrogen Council' have pledged to put hydrogen among the key solutions of the energy transition.

Tracy West: Shop Talk

I've written about this before and I'm sure I'll write about it again. It's to do with today's all-singing, all-dancing service stations. It's not a complaint: I love them. I wish I had more near where I live or at least one decent one near where I live.

Peter Harding: business development director Htec

Just take a look at any magazine or web page and ask yourself what do you see: home automation. There are many, many devices to control home peripherals as well as home applications such as cameras and recording devices, smoke and humidity detectors. But what's new in the forecourt retail world of automation? What might be seen this year in our business? The showcase, as ever, will be the National Convenience Show and The Forecourt Show, at the NEC from April 24-26.

Chris Hunt: UKPIA director general

'May you live in interesting times' is actually purported to be a Chinese curse 2016 was certainly interesting for society in general and our industry in particular. Whether it was cursed remains to be seen.

Shop Talk: Tracy West

Happy New Year to you all. Let's hope it's going to be a good one. After all the surprises of 2016, you can't help but wonder what's in store and I'm going to take that quite literally and have a look at the new products we might get to see in 2017.

Kevin Eastwood: executive director BOSS

Police forces across the country are under pressure and forecourt retailers have a responsibility to help the police to use their limited resources effectively.

James Lowman: ACS chief executive

As we build up to the new financial year starting in April when businesses in England and Wales will start paying rates based on the latest revaluation, there's been a lot in the papers about business rates. While a lot of the media coverage talks about the pounds and pence increases, the underlying issue remains that two years ago, the government committed to undertaking a fundamental review of business rates and we're yet to see a clear conclusion to it.

Merril Boulton: editor

Happy New Year to you all I hope trading was bouyant over the festive season. But while I had intended to continue in positive fashion, I am sorry to hear that it wasn't a very good start to the New Year for Top 50 Indie, High Noon Stores, which went into administration on December 30 (see News page 4). Scant information is currently available, but I hope the difficulties can be resolved. If not, it would be the first Top 50 Indie to hit the buffers since 2012, when Scottish independent Calanike which had 19 sites ceased trading.

Shop Talk: Tracy West

I must say that I'm feeling a little bit smug and that's because all of my Christmas shopping is virtually done.

David Charman: chairman CWA

When I look back over the past 20 years trading as a convenience petrol retailer, the change has been enormous. At the start when the oil company logo was above the door, we were viewed with the suspicion that everything we sold would somehow be smeared with oil or smell of petrol. Nowadays, the retail excellence from all sites really sets the standard of convenience retail in the UK. Over 50% of sites now boast a symbol brand above the door. There were always good sites throughout that time and the difficulty now is that most sites are great sites.

Brian Madderson: chairman PRA

For several months, the PRA has been lobbying ministers to introduce a fuel duty cut with 3ppl recommended for both grades. The Chancellor invited PRA earlier this month to meet senior officials at HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs to present their case.

Merril Boulton: editor

It's not so long ago that you would have recoiled to think that supermarkets and independent retailers could work together on any kind of project, the former having kicked the 'proverbials' out of the latters' livelihoods for many years. Now we have two Top 50 groups Rontec and MFG (see News page 5) working with Morrisons in store trials (not to mention Euro Garages and Sainsbury's). Do you think they ever dare to mention fuel prices?

Shop Talk: Tracy West

The time when we used to say to each other 'There are only so many shopping days until Christmas' are rather redundant as shopping is more or less a 24/7 activity thanks to the internet. There's no doubt that the internet, as well as all of the discounters, are taking a big chunk of Christmas cash but luckily there seems to be quite a lot of that cash to go round.

Peter Harding: business development director HTEC

This past couple of months have seen a new iPhone (the 7), new IOS 10 and not much else. IOS 10 is said to provide much better connection (untested by me) for home connectable appliances there is even a home app button on the main screen.

Chris Hunt: UKPIA director general

As we move toward Autumn, Brexit and its implications are becoming a reality, at least in terms of the 'pre-fight build-up'. Our Prime Minister, Theresa May, has insisted "Brexit means Brexit" and "the decision of the British public will be respected".

Merril Boulton: What a shocker

Well that was a bit of a shocker the government consulting on plans to force larger service stations, supermarket forecourts and motorway service areas to provide hydrogen refuelling facilities and charging points for electric vehicles (see News Extra on page 10). The measures are included in a consultation document for the Modern Transport Bill, due in Parliament next year, and interested parties only have until November 23 to submit their views.

Shop Talk: Tracy West

I have a confession I love Nutella. I have to avoid buying it because I can eat so much of it. A while back I bought the teensiest of jars the glass one with the white lid and sat and ate it all with a teaspoon. Then, feeling more than a little guilty, studied the jar and discovered that I had just consumed 15 servings but boy was it good. I love the Nutella&Go! product but obviously the bread sticks-to-spread ratio is not right for me.

Kevin Eastwood: BOSS executive director

Technology plays a big part in our campaign to reduce forecourt crime by speeding up communications and the processing of large amounts of information. More efficient ways of working are absolutely necessary when you consider that approximately 900,000 times a year drivers either drive-off from a forecourt without paying for fuel or they draw fuel and then claim that they have no means to pay and don't return to pay. It's a problem that costs forecourt retailers on average 3,000 every year.

Merril Boulton: Wow what a night!

Wow what a night! Many congratulations to Patrick Sewell and his team at Sewell on the go South Cave for becoming our latest Forecourt Trader of the Year winner. It's a second time around for him he last won in 2009.

Shop Talk: Tracy West

I hope you've had a good summer and your fair share of the gorgeous weather.

David Charman: chairman CWA

Most people would agree that the changing face of UK car washing over the past decade or so has been caused by the influx of migrants from the EU the best estimates put the figure at 2.2 million.

Brian Madderson: chairman PRA

Post-Brexit there's been understandable concern that the predicted drop in the value of sterling versus the US dollar would immediately force Platts' wholesale costs upwards. While there has been devaluation of sterling, the pessimists in the City predicting lows of $1.20 or even $1.10 have so far proved well wide of the mark. Instead we have seen a fall of around 10%, from $1.46 down to $1.32. This level has now remained fairly constant since the referendum decision.

Merril Boulton: Maintaining standards

I hope you've all had a good summer - yes it eventually arrived, encouraging people to get out and about and make the most of the warm temperatures by driving to the beach, shopping for barbecues, or generally travelling around the country as they took in the sights on their 'staycations'

Shop Talk: Tracy West

A colleague asked me the other day if I was some sort of brand ambassador for Coke. His reasoning was my knowledge of the brand and the different sub-brands. Unfortunately, I'm not, but I'm a massive Diet Coke fan and drink far too much of the lovely bubbly stuff. As I write this, I have a fridge filled with cans under my desk.

Peter Harding: business development director Htec

This month I'd like to cover self checkouts. There are basically three types. Card only, as the name suggests, is a unit that only accepts debit and credit cards. These units can be pole-mounted or shelf-mounted. They're a much lower cost unit than a traditional self checkout as seen in the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury's.

Chris Hunt: UKPIA director general

The implications and effects of the nation's decision to leave the European Union will take some time to unravel, and for the UK's negotiations over 'Brexit' to begin.

Merril Boulton: Duty-bound

Something of a blow for those pursuing the case for duty deferment, is last month's overturning of a landmark tax verdict that could have brought a significant cashflow boost to many retailers (see News page 4, and News Extra, page 10).

Kevin Eastwood: executive director BOSS

We now know where we stand with Europe, while the performance of the home nations in the Euro football championship has kept us all on a knife edge. And we're delighted to have recovered a massive 500,000 for forecourt retailers during the first six months of 2016.

Shop Talk: Tracy West

I have a confession. Despite being a middle-aged woman, I really like McCoy's. I know they're principally aimed at men but just as I love action films made for men, so do I like McCoy's. It's the flavours they're so strong. No subtle 'hints of', just full-on flavour. That said, I was a bit skeptical when the launch of McCoy's Thick Cut was announced. Why mess with something that works so well, I thought. However, since trying the BBQ Chicken flavour, I've realised I'm wrong and am now a Thick Cut convert.

James Lowman: ACS chief executive

Over recent years, the forecourt and convenience sectors have been merging closer together, with more stores now considering themselves to be 'convenience plus fuel' rather than primarily traditional fuel retailers. This has led to the emergence of hundreds of fantastic new store formats that often lead the rest of the convenience sector in growing categories like food to-go, in-store bakeries and top quality coffee. As a result, the forecourt convenience sector (without including the value of fuel sales) is now worth over 4bn to the UK economy. For the first time this year, we have produced a forecourt report looking specifically at the makeup of these stores.

Merril Boulton - editor: Never a truer phrase

Whoever said a week is a long time in politics (prime minister Harold Wilson in 1964 apparently), could not have coined a more apt phrase for what's happened in the past seven days (writing on July 1). Chaos and skullduggery appears to be the order of the day as the so-called ruling classes are too busy indulging in a right old battle of their own, to actually rule the country. And those that put them there us can only look on in sheer horror and amazement. Just who are these people with their ideologies, giant egos and personal agendas, and will we ever believe what any of them say again? It's like one of the more outrageous episodes of Yes, Prime Minister. But 'twas ever thus.

Merril Boulton: Let's focus on the certainties

The EU referendum vote looms large this month, and despite all the talk, nobody seems any the wiser about the outcome. Even the forecourt sector seems to be as evenly divided and undecided on the matter as the rest of the nation (see News Extra page 10). But one thing is for sure, this time next month it will be behind us.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

I love a limited edition and they always catch my eye in the shops. But I have to wonder how you retailers make room for them. If they're small and a real impulse buy, then they might fit by the till, but if they aren't you've got to find space for them elsewhere, and given the number of limited editions available now, that could be a problem.

David Charman - chairman CWA

Over the past decade, the Car Wash Association has made huge inroads into regulating the hand washes that continue to blight our environment, fail to contribute to the country and bring car washing into disrepute. While there have been some success stories, generally the lack of regulatory pressure has allowed huge growth.

Brian Madderson - chairman PRA

As I travel around the UK meeting and talking to independent forecourt retailers, I have been struck by their enthusiasm to embrace the shopping revolution which has seen increasing demand for 'top-up' visits to good, local convenience stores. Fortunately this enthusiasm has been matched by symbol groups willing to improve their offer.

Merril Boulton: Booker begins to deliver

When Booker acquired Musgrave Retail Partners GB last summer, it said it had a track record of turning around 'challenged businesses'. Its extremely accomplished CEO Charles Wilson said Booker, Londis and Budgens were joining forces to help independent retailers prosper.

  • Weekly
    Retail
  • Weekly
    wholesale
  • Daily
    Average
Weekly Fuel Prices 17 April 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East120.7367.90128.72118.72
East Midlands119.95131.24118.34
London120.8753.90129.98119.12
North East119.40130.73117.21
North West120.01128.97118.13
Northern Ireland119.1063.50117.39
Scotland119.90126.33117.67
South East121.0958.50129.83119.18
South West120.38128.30118.45
Wales119.75125.03118.03
West Midlands120.3661.57130.37118.53
Yorkshire & Humber119.72129.97118.08

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