Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
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Peter Harding - retail consultant

We all understand standards within the technological arena change, sometimes so quickly that it is difficult to keep pace. This is a pre-warning that things may again be set to change.

Chris Hunt - UKPIA director general

The competitiveness of oil refining and other energy intensive industries is under threat. The current crisis facing UK steelmaking is symptomatic of a much wider malaise, mirrored across the whole major industrial manufacturing infrastructure. In exploring the challenges facing oil refining and wider industry in the UK, UKPIA has produced a report entitled Crisis What Crisis? This communication not only provides a wide-angle overview of why the manufacturing industry matters but, through a refining sector case study, sets out the pressures undermining its competitiveness. In summary, the report shows that our energy intensive industries, such as refining, play a significant role in the economy but are at a critical stage and face a number of significant challenges, the outcome of which will have a profound impact on long-term economic growth and the nation's resilience.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

The days of heading to the supermarket are over for some Brits, as they trade trolleys for home delivery. That was the opening sentence on a press release from Mintel about its online shopping report.

Merril Boulton: Search starts here for this year's best retailers

So oil prices are slowly rising again currency fluctuations and an anticipated production freeze contributing to the joyfully complex formula that dictates what motorists pay at the pump. Like sailing away from a sunny holiday destination, we seem to be leaving the 1-a-litre prices behind shame, I quite liked matching up the pounds with the litres!

James Lowman - ACS chief executive

The March 2016 Budget is likely to be remembered by the general public for what ended up not happening, notably the review of benefits to the disabled. It may also be remembered for the announcement of the levy on companies selling sugary drinks.

Brian Madderson - chairman PRA

I would not place a bet on the next movement of Brent Crude having listened to many hours of detailed presentations from some of the most experienced analysts in the industry during International Petroleum Week there are just too many variables. What is irrefutable is that OECD stocks have risen by 15% to more than 3bn barrels since early 2014 producing a record overhang.

David Charman - chairman CWA

The 2016 rates valuation is something the whole industry is worried about, but not, it seems, the hand car washers. Yet again so many of them will not be listed or if they are, no proper investigation will have taken place to ensure that they pay their correct rates. It's terribly frustrating as the CWA has provided much of the data necessary for the job to be done properly.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

I love chocolate as much as the next person actually probably more so, and my absolute favourite is Cadbury Dairy Milk. However, I am not a big fan of what they are doing to it ie launching more and more obscure varieties. They must have done their research but even so... First up, let's look at Medley, two 93g bars which say on the wrapper 'A delightful Medley of' and that's either dark chocolate chips, biscuit and fudge pieces or dark chocolate chips, carmelised hazelnuts and raspberry pieces.

Merril Boulton:Top 50 - a decade on

Another successful Top 50 Indies dinner took place last month, and as we reach a milestone 10 years of the report, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the launch of the listing, which was first published in 2006.

Merril Boulton: MRH - from bust to boom

Big news that the owners of MRH have sold the business to US private equity company Lone Star (see News page 4).

Peter Harding - retail consultant

This year will see many changes in the provision of point-of-sale systems in the UK. Torex/Micros/Oracle seems to have passed the mantle for sales to other parties and several have taken partnerships with Oracle for the supply of systems at various different levels. But a word of caution when seeking new systems this year always ensure that the system you are being sold actually exists and is not just a plan in someone's mind.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

Our esteemed editor Merril Boulton loves a Sherbet Lemon and Bassett's are her favourite, so she was delighted with the news that brand owner Mondelez is promoting 'adult candy' via a major relaunch. She's hoping her favourites will then be more widely available. Whenever I see them in a shop, I do buy her some (what a creep, I hear you say) and typically they are found in forecourt stores, so that's good for business.

Merril Boulton: Ignorance is key for Fair Fuel campaign

Happy New Year to you all. Made me smile to see the supermarkets getting a slating over their pricing strategies for a change, instead of always the traditional fuel retailing fraternity.

James Lowman - ACS chief executive

In the summer of 2015, ACS launched one of its biggest ever campaigns in opposition to changes to Sunday Trading regulations announced by the Chancellor in his July Budget. We lobbied hard to ensure that the issue was front-of-mind for MPs, and as a result of the campaigning work, a sizeable group of Conservative MPs and the Scottish National Party publicly stated that they would vote against a change in the rules.

Kevin Eastwood - Executive director BOSS

The police and other law enforcement bodies face continuing pressure to prioritise resources in the face of austerity measures. BOSS has been working hard to maintain and build on existing relationships to ensure maximum benefit for members, recognising that it's important to do more than just report a crime. This has led to the recovery of more than 2m for members, together with positive outcomes and prosecution of numerous persistent offenders.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

Happy New Year to you all. Can you believe that we've already had 15 years of the 21st century? Every time I think of the 21st century, I'm transported back to my school days when we all imagined that by now, some of us would be living on the moon. Of course, it's not happened yet, but technology does evolve in leaps and bounds, not least payment technology.

Brian Madderson - chairman RMIP

This has been a turbulent and exciting year for petrol retailers with the independent sector powering ahead to represent nearly 70% of all UK forecourts. The decision by the remaining oil majors to continue divesting their retail assets has enabled a few of the larger independent groups to grow quickly and impressively, but some smaller multi-site operators have also been on the acquisition trail. This is a refreshing change from the years of attrition caused by the rise and rise of the big four supermarkets which has seen over 4,000 small, often family run, filling stations wiped out since 2001.

Chris Hunt - UKPIA director general

Petroleum products are an essential energy resource and they will continue to be for years to come. Our sector produces these vital products and confidence in the safety of our operations is paramount. Our industry does involve potential risks that are greater than those in many other sectors and for this month's column I want to focus on safety.

Peter Harding - retail consultant

The latest Apple event came and went launching the new Iphone 6s, new Apple TV new ios 9 and OSx El Capitan and, of course, the Ipad Pro. Having done some work with CBE on the mobile solution, I was keen to see what the Ipad Pro brought to the table.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

he news that Christmas will be cheaper for consumers this year means only one thing to retailers fierce competition. A survey for VoucherCodes.co.uk, done by YouGov, found that average household spending on food, presents and decorations would be 796.05 this year. It sounds a lot but it's actually 3% down on last year's spend of 820.60, and the lowest spend since 2012.

James Lowman - ACS chief executive

At the start of September, we launched our fourth annual Local Shop Report and it was great to see so many of you in Manchester to be among the first to get the information.

Kevin Eastwood - Executive director BOSS

At a recent meeting with the Attorney General, the country's senior law officer, BOSS was praised for the work it does in tackling forecourt crime. It was also welcoming to hear from Home Office Minister for Policing, Mike Penning MP, that he's grateful for the positive way that BOSS is working with the Home Office.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

Having spent over two weeks recently with a really annoying cough and cold, I've had first-hand contact with the cold and flu remedies category. During my illness I consumed, in no particular order: vitamin C, vitamin D3, Day Nurse, Night Nurse, paracetamol, Sudafed, Covonia lozenges, Jakeman's throat sweets and liquorice tea. Annoying as my symptons were, I didn't bother going to the doctors because there's nothing they can do for the common cold.

Brian Madderson - chairman PRA

I wrote after the election to Mike Penning MP, newly appointed minister for policing, crime, criminal justice and victims at the Home Office about possible changes to police policy on forecourt crime.

David Charman - chairman CWA

As the summer months continue with the better weather, the excellent car wash sales of 2015 have continued. I was reminded recently by a personal event that there has been a dramatic increase in some of the costs incurred by our business, such as water and refuse.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

How pro-active are you at providing what your shoppers want? I ask because I spoke to a convenience store retailer recently who told me he had just started stocking low-salt and low-sugar lines. But the interesting bit was that he was not responding to demand, he was trying to create it.

Chris Hunt - UKPIA director general

Diesel vehicles have become increasingly popular and now account for over half of new car registrations in the UK.

Peter Harding - Retail technology consultant

Apple Pay and PayPal are the latest payment methods to reach our retail stores and sites. Available on iPhone 6, Apple Pay enables your mobile phone to be used as a mobile wallet. You simply pass your phone near to the terminal, anything with the ApplePay logo or the currently available contactless symbol. The limit for Apple Pay is currently the same as contactless ie 20. I understand that this is moving to 40 per transaction in October.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

I've always been a bit fascinated by the Graze craze. You know, those boxes of delicious but healthy snacks that get sent direct to consumers' homes or desks.

James Lowman - ACS Chief executive

Business rates are one of the biggest cost burdens on retailers, and while the government's review of the system is a great opportunity, there will be winners and losers. It's our job to explain why local shops should be net beneficiaries of the review.

Kevin Eastwood - BOSS executive director

Last month there was uproar when Devon and Cornwall Police revealed that taking fuel and driving off without payment would not be investigated and their lack of resources meant they would not deal with it.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

I know it's really the wrong time of the year to talk about chocolate, but I just had to tell you about my latest find.

Merril Boulton: Age of the indie

Lots of positive news for the fuel retailing sector this month starting with our latest annual Fuel Market Review, compiled in conjunction with Experian Catalist (page 28). It shows that the number of dealer sites has grown for the second year in a row, there are more vehicles on the UK roads, retail fuel volumes have also grown plus supermarket volumes are down, albeit by just 0.5%.

Brian Madderson - chairman PRA

Farewell coalition and hello majority. Voters chose a Conservative Government producing a raft of new appointments and decisions critical for our industry sector.

David Charman - chairman CWA

Well it's that time again; time to complete the HMRC rates form showing, in a nutshell, how my business has performed over the past three years. I suspect that for many of us it will reveal just how much our sector has changed.

Shop Talk - Tracy West

The phrase 'I don't believe it' is the title of this month's column as I am in full-on Victor Meldrew mode. Firstly, I couldn't believe the story of the chap who went into Greggs (the bakers) to buy a loaf of bread, only to be told they don't sell bread any more. Surely that's just the same as going onto a petrol forecourt and being told they don't sell petrol?

Merrril Boulton: Indies in overdrive

Yet another month of intense activity in the sector, and I don't just mean all the trade exhibitions that were held last month including our own very successful Forecourt Show at the NEC. The head offices of MFG and Euro Garages must have been and will continue to be operating in overdrive as they go through the purchase of yet more swathes of sites, this time from Shell (see News Extra page 10).

Chris Hunt - UKPIA director general

s we went to press, a safety scheme for road fuel tankers was launched. UKPIA inaugurated a thoroughly revised Safe Loading Pass Scheme (SLPS) on April 30. The scheme aims to ensure that road fuel tankers are safe and meet a number of additional checks and standards. The SLPS was first established in the UK in 1989 and was informally managed by a small number of participating companies.

Peter Harding - Retail technology consultant

Can you remember where you were and what you were doing on Friday April 10, 2015? I can. I had made an appointment to view and potentially order my new Apple watch. Having got to the relevant point in the appointment system, the nice young lady asked me which watch I was there to see? I knew it was the larger 42mm watch with the Milanese Loop.

Shop Talk: Tracy West

People say that there's no such thing as a free lunch but with Walker's crisps that's not true. That's because consumers buying packets of the crisps have a one in six chance of winning a free lunch. Walkers owner PepsiCo says this will enable retailers to 'add some crunch' to their lunchtime sales.

James Lowman: ACS Chief executive

The Chancellor has delivered his final Budget of the parliament ahead of the election in May. One of the headlines grabbing a lot of attention was the announcement of 1p off a pint, reductions in other alcohol duties and a freeze in wine duty. This is good news for an important category in convenience stores. A reduction in duty rates on alcohol alongside a renewed commitment from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to clamp down on duty fraud and the upcoming introduction of an alcohol wholesaler registration scheme are all positive steps toward tackling the damaging illicit trade.

Kevin Eastwood - BOSS executive director

On May 7 the country goes to the polls to elect a new government. One of the first questions I will be asking the new Home Secretary is "What is the justice system going to do to respond better to drive-offs and 'no means of payment' (NMoP) incidents?"

Tracy West -:Shop Talk

By now, you should all be covered up. And by that I mean your cigarettes and baccy, all cosy and snug behind doors or shutters because on April 6, that's the law!

Merril Boulton: Big growth for the big boys

Interesting times, as Esso concludes the sell-off of its final tranche of sites and pilots a new fuel livery; and MFG unveils a new strategy - on the one hand signing off on the biggest fuel supply deal of recent years; and also commits to the Murco brand in a dealer supply operation. Full marks to Euro Garages for taking the lion's share of the Esso sites. It means that since 2012, when the first of the Esso company owned site sales took place, Euro Garages has acquired 195 out of a possible 369 sites - more than half. According to the latest Top 50 Indies listing, and by my calculations (granted the figures are always fluctuating) it now has a total of 286 sites and has therefore jumped ahead of Rontec to come nearly neck and neck with MFG, currently at number two with 288 sites. MRH however, has reinforced its dominance of the independent dealer group sector, adding another 78 sites bringing its network to 463. It acquired a total of 109 sites from Esso over the three groups of sales; Rontec gained 55 overall. These are audacious acquisitions as these independent dealer groups continue to grow in leaps and bounds. MRH has lead the way in terms of numbers for some time; Euro Garages continues to lead the way in terms of innovation both in site development and operation. MFG has joined the party with its huge number of company owned sites on which it continues to raise standards; and now it is officially caretaker of the Murco brand. The MFG management

Merril Boulton: Burgeoning Top 50

It's been another busy month as we completed the research on the latest Top 50 Indies listing, which shows a burgeoning group which has grown at the rate of more than 300 sites in the past year (see report on page 20). And of course more growth will come with the conclusion of the sale of Esso's final tranche of sites and Shell's disposal of 250 sites, expected to be completed later this year.

Brian Madderson: chairman PRA

The extraordinarily steep decline in Brent Crude from $115 per barrel last June to $45 per barrel by mid-January was predicted by very few (if any) analysts, traders or oil companies, tempting the same scribes to pen their best guesses for 2015. The recent Bloomberg headline which read "analysts are now united in their view of crude oil prices going forward" it will be somewhere in the range $30 to $200 per barrel, neatly summarised these guesses.

David Charman - chairman CWA

Spring 2015 may turn out to be a huge turning point in the car wash industry. The weather has been kind, resulting in the best start to trade for maybe five years. Could it be also that the new found wealth afforded to the motorist, with the falling fuel prices, has rekindled the love affair with the motor car?

Shop Talk - Tracy West

I always used to be impressed by US forecourts they always seemed so cutting edge, so ahead of the curve but on a recent trip to Florida the ones I visited were a bit disappointing. One was downright awful. Mr West and I only stopped because we needed a map we'd been too mean to pay the extra for the sat nav in the car hire package. That decision cost us dearly as a few days before I'd looked at a map on my iPhone and it cost me 40 quid! Anyway we used the stop to buy the map and to also fill up with fuel. As you know, you pay before you fill up over there and usually I don't mind this at all. But this time, I went into the shop and said: "Fill up on number six, please." I added that I had no idea how much this would cost and so the 'charming' lady behind the counter took my card and barked at me to stand close by. I was so scared, I froze. I gazed around the shop and it looked like the 'before' shot on a makeover show. Shelves were randomly stacked with goods, typically beef jerky and energy shots. And no, they had no maps!

Peter Harding - Retail technology consultant

It's the first month of the New Year and time to consider what can we expect to see happen in the world of technology over the next 12 months?

Shop Talk - Tracy West

Valentine's Day (February 14) falls on a Saturday this year, which is always good news for restaurants but I think it's good news for you too. That's because even though surveys say people are spending more on eating out in restaurants, many consumers just haven't got their confidence back yet to go splashing the cash. So instead they'll opt for a cosy night in. M&S has done wonders for the 'easy meal at home' market with its special deals but with all the cookery shows on TV you can bet there are some people men and women who will be showing off their culinary skills on February 14. Why not help them along? Not just with special deals but maybe some recipe ideas? Or, if you have an off licence, suggestions for which wine goes best with which type of food. Wine and cider suppliers say food pairing is a big trend. Thatchers Cider has been working with Tim Maddams famous for his work at River Cottage and award-winning Indian cookery teacher Bini Ludlow to create a series of menus and food pairing ideas. Its aim is to offer retailers new ways to engage with consumers.

  • Weekly
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    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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