Ignorance about accepting credit and debit card payments from disabled drivers has caused confusion and distress on forecourts as crucial information from the Chip and Pin Programme has failed to reach relevant staff on the shop floor.
Forecourts may have to re-think whether stocking alcohol or offering late night refreshment is viable following the announcement of costs for licences that are higher than previously proposed.
BP Retail has appointed supply chain management company Exel to manage the 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week distribution of frozen, chilled and ambient goods to more than 340 BP forecourts in the UK for the next three years.

Total and ESA re-sign

01 February, 2005
Total UK is to continue its mystery shopping campaign with ESA for the eighth consecutive year.
Jet’s five-year-old Smile promotion is being radically updated to take into account new developments in pos technology and to improve the offer to customers.
The average fuel margin across Europe last year was just over five pence per litre, according to Wood Mackenzie, one of Europe’s leading energy information companies specialising in downstream oil markets.

Lew seeks 'oldies' to help out

01 February, 2005
He’s probably Britain’s oldest workaholic! At the age of 80, Lew Branston is still expanding his hugely successful forecourt – and he wants a posse of ‘Dad’s Army’ labourers to help him.
The number of Spar-branded forecourt shops in Scotland has risen by 50% to 39 sites in the past year.

News in brief

01 February, 2005
TOREX RETAIL has acquired Flexiline Forecourt Services Ltd in a deal worth £2.1m. Flexiline specialises in the installation and servicing of forecourt equipment and will become part of Torex’s expanding petroleum and convenience division. Rob Loosemore, executive chairman of Torex, said: “The acquisition will add depth to our service offering in the retail petroleum sector. Over the next few years there will be increased development and refurbishment activity on forecourts with the introduction of new fuels, environmental protection legislation and the addition of outdoor payment terminals. We will now be better placed to take advantage of this.”

Staying power

01 February, 2005
Forecourt retailers with non-affiliated stores such as Forecourt Trader of the Year winners Peter and Pat Bellini, will be among those leading the convenience retailing market for the next few years, according to new research from the food and grocery think-tank, IGD.
I was due to be in North London and knew there was a fairly new Sainsbury Local/Shell site in Muswell Hill on Colney Hatch Lane and thought it would make an interesting visit. So I logged on to the Sainsbury website and used the store locator facility to identify its exact location. That achieved with ease, I logged onto Tesco’s website to find a Tesco Express/Esso in the area that I could visit and so compare both offerings.

Look on the brightside

01 February, 2005
For the past few months we’ve seen our Database figures looking fairly depressed in terms of sales and profitability growth, and anyone listening to the big High Street names reporting their ‘disappointing’ Christmas season (which these days seems to cover anything between the beginning of September and the beginning of the New Year) results will hardly feel inspired. Yes, the retail trading environment in the UK appears to be somewhat difficult at the moment and petrol retailing is no exception. Or is it?

A widening gulf

01 February, 2005
One might say that the gulf has widened in the dispute between retailer Owen McKay and his supplier. In our November issue I recounted the story of a strained relationship between Owen, who runs Smithy Garage at Warrington in Cheshire, and Gulf Retail. Owen had nothing but praise for the image Gulf had given his business but he wasn’t finding the petrol prices competitive enough for him to hold his own against a nearby BP. He says he had a verbal agreement with Gulf for better prices. When these were not forthcoming, he bought elsewhere.

Keeping track

01 February, 2005
f you sell newspapers supplied by John Menzies and are trying to keep manual track of sales and returns you have probably noticed that the handy diary and sales control annual is no longer available from them.

Watch your backs

01 February, 2005
I’ve written a couple of reports on the success of Kent Police’s Forecourt Watch scheme – and went so far as to ask why can’t the rest of the country follow such an impressive example.

Changing lanes

01 February, 2005
Promotional activity is going to be high on the agenda for motorway operator Welcome Break in the coming months, according to newly appointed director of retail, Nabil Subuh.

Frilford gem

01 February, 2005
Success does not happen overnight, and the Rashid family has worked hard for many years to build a business that does it proud. Shortly before Christmas saw the official opening of the family’s superb, newly developed site in Frilford, Oxfordshire. It has all the attributes of a modern, well-equipped site, and plays a key role in the life of the local community, as well as providing a good service to its growing transient audience.

On the main route

01 February, 2005
Winner of the year

Scramble for sales

01 February, 2005
Unfortunately the grocery multiples have taken a lot of the profit out of Easter for convenience retailers, either with or without a forecourt. The reason is that the multiples have done so many cut-price promotional deals that in a lot of cases Easter eggs have become a commodity. Of course you’ll already know this but what you may not know is that the major confectionery manufacturers still believe forecourts have a huge part to play in the Easter egg market. It’s just a case of picking and choosing your eggs carefully – stocking the impulse filled egg lines along with luxury gifting lines and leaving the smaller, lower price eggs for the mults to fight over.

Fighting back

01 February, 2005
Security has always been a big issue for forecourts and retailers today must contend with an ever-widening range of crimes – from drive-offs and theft to credit-card fraud and, even, staff fraud.

Room for improvement

01 February, 2005
Lack of space is a perennial c-store challenge, but forecourts have something the average high street retailer doesn’t – 10s of square feet in front of the shop on the forecourt which can extend selling space and act as an extra shop window.

Naughty but nice

01 February, 2005
New naughty ‘n’ saucy Nik Naks from Golden Wonder claim to be the world’s first savoury snack to feature the Chinese love potion ginseng.

Run with this one

01 February, 2005
Flora is the subject of a £9m relaunch package which includes new packaging and the launch of the Flora Family Marathon.

Keep carbs in check

01 February, 2005
Heinz is launching a new lower carbohydrate food range called Carb Check. It provides consumers with a points system, which makes it easy for them to monitor their carb intake.

Delightful Mars makeover offer

01 February, 2005
Mars Delight is joining forces with nationwide hairdressing brand, Toni & Guy, for a promotion that hits shelves this month.
Pringles is launching its biggest ever on-pack promotion, worth a potential £640m.

Still top of the blocks

01 February, 2005
Cadbury Trebor Bassett is extending its Dairy Milk range with two new sizes.

Domestos blasts off

01 February, 2005
Aqua blast is the latest fragrance from Domestos. It comes in a bright blue bottle which builds on the success of last year’s pink power bottle.

Value refrigeration

01 February, 2005
Hoshizaki is launching a new range of value-for-money, quality upright and under-counter fridges and freezers.
JS Air Curtains’ Standesse model allows retailers to leave their doors open without letting heat escape. The Standesse creates a wall of warm air sealing the internal and external atmospheres but still allowing customers unhindered access into a warm environment.

Kingston milestone

01 February, 2005
Demand for Verco’s low-front Kingston open chill cabinet has reached an all-time high. The company has sold more than 1,000 units since launch 12 months ago.

Plumb service

01 February, 2005
Tank cleaning specialist David Plumb & Co is offering a new service which aims to increase the intervals between the cleaning of fuel storage tanks and extend the tank life.
IF THERE'S ONE MONTH that’s absolutely guaranteed to make me feel utterly depressed it’s January. The month starts off badly, screwed by yet another fatuous Bank Holiday, and hardly improves till the capital F of February appears on the horizon. To begin with there’s the petrol tanks filled to the brim because you didn’t want to run out over Christmas. Every year I look at the previous year’s sales when placing my tanker orders and every year I think “I know that’s what we did then but I daren’t risk running out and with no deliveries for four days I’d better play safe”. And every year I’m filled to overflowing. Then there’s absolutely crap fuel sales – we know that the first couple of weeks after Christmas everybody is skint, but why does it have to take till February before normal activity is resumed. Then there’s the New Year Resolutions. Now I’m sorry, this Resolution thing may offer some short-term soul-cleansing but don’t the public realise that we NEED our cigarette and confectionery sales to keep our bottom line in black ink! Last, but not least, is the almost guaranteed tumble in fuel prices. If the hypers looked at their previous year’s sales they would know that cutting 10p off a litre won’t get the buggers to buy more, so what’s the point of giving margin away?

Fuel prices: February 2005

01 February, 2005
Data supplied by Catalist Ltd

Review of the year 2004

01 January, 2005
JANUARY

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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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