Esso is bringing its long-running Pricewatch campaign to an end next month. Launched as a trial in August 1995 and rolled out nationally in January of the following year, the promotion caused chaos and outrage in the industry, sparking intense price wars as the major oil companies battled it out with the supermarkets and small retailers got caught in the cross-fire.
Encouraged by low interest rates and the need to gain a competitive edge, 26 per cent of the top 135 UK fuels companies have spent the past three years gradually increasing their levels of debt, according to the latest Plimsoll Portfolio Analysis.
Esso is bringing its long-running Pricewatch campaign to an end next month. Launched as a trial in August 1995 and rolled out nationally in January of the following year, the promotion caused chaos and outrage in the industry, sparking intense price wars as the major oil companies battled it out with the supermarkets and small retailers got caught in the cross-fire.
A couple’s bid to rescue a threatened filling station in rural Suffolk for the benefit of local motorists has ended in disappointment.
ExxonMobil has hit back at allegations by Friends of the Earth that it has caused five per cent of global, man-made climate changing carbon dioxide emissions over the past 120 years.

Safety first at Total site

01 February, 2004
Management at Total have praised the quick actions of staff when a car burst into flames. The incident happened at the Narborough Road, Leicester, outlet after the vehicle was left parked next to pumps. The engine suddenly burst into flames and thick smoke began to pour from the car.
A self-reporting process for drive-offs established in Northampton is being extended to other parts of country this month.
With 18 months to go before the Switch debit card disappears, 380,000 retailers have already signed up to accept the replacement debit brand Maestro.

End of an era

01 February, 2004
It was back in 1995 – August 21 to be precise – that Esso launched trials of its new Pricewatch campaign in Tyne Tees and Central Scotland. It caused an absolute storm, sparking price wars and retail hardship the like of which had never been seen before, with its promise of matching the lowest prices within a two-mile radius of participating Esso sites.

Making your own luck

01 February, 2004
The world divides into the reactive and the proactive. Sebastian Nonis, who runs Forfar Road Service Station in Dundee, is not the sort to take things lying down. I know this because I have a file This Thick on my desk illustrating the lengths that he will go to promote his business/raise funds for the community and draw attention to his own situation when required.
A Birmingham retailer rang with an average tale of woe – roadworks had re-routed business for a while, general competition was up, place needed a facelift but he couldn’t afford it. I say an ‘average’ call as I do get many like this. It doesn’t compare with the ones I get about badly failing health/imminent bankruptcy/shotgun-shoved-in-ear experiences. But as we all know, these niggles can eventually wear you down to the point that shutting up shop seems the only answer.


01 February, 2004
From time to time we have pointed out that those of you running your businesses as directors of limited companies have certain legal obligations that are more onerous than those that would apply to sole traders and partnerships. Perhaps nowhere does this become more important than in the event of insolvent trading. In the context of company law insolvency means that a situation has arisen whereby a company has reached a point where it is no longer able to pay its bills.

Spring clean your business

01 February, 2004
Christmas is history. The New Year will soon be a surly teenager. Most of those booze, cigarettes and chocolate resolutions have gone by the board. As the days draw out, so do the wallets. It’s time to plan some spring-cleaning for your business.

The price is right

01 February, 2004
IN the 21st century it seems we can access most things via the internet – whether it’s buying groceries or houses; seeing what the weather’s like in a holiday resort via a webcam; or simply communicating with the rest of the world via email, chatrooms and suchlike. So it seems only natural that there is now a specialist website dedicated to helping independent dealers run their businesses and giving them a competitive edge.

Under lock and key

01 February, 2004
the tragic murder of Cornish operators, Graham and Carol Fisher, last November provided a stark reminder of how vulnerable to crime the forecourt sector can be. The high value of the petrol, along with their often isolated locations, can leave forecourts open to violent crimes and drive-offs. And with the growth of forecourt c-stores, operators will increasingly encounter retail crime.

Cold front

01 February, 2004
If one word has become synonymous with successful food retailing today it’s convenience. Witness the major grocery multiples. A walk down any high street reveals the importance they now place on the channel, as they snaffle up convenience outlets and convert an increasing proportion of their estates to the c-store blueprint.

Budding business

01 February, 2004
Forecourts are the ultimate distress channel for flower and plant purchases. Consumers know that when everywhere else is closed, they can be sure that when they fill up their tanks they can also pick up some blooms for gifting, celebrations or commiseration.

Hendersons roll out epos-combi

01 February, 2004
Northern Ireland-based Spar wholesaler John Henderson is rolling out a new retail solution to its forecourt c-stores.

ServEquip wins US deal

01 February, 2004
ServEquip has been appointed as the sole UK distributor for Star Holman, the American manufacturer of professional catering equipment.

KP raises its game

01 February, 2004
An aggressive assault on the snacks category in 2004 has been planned by the United Biscuits Group, which is raising its marketing spend for the year by 30 per cent to £44 million – its biggest-ever investment.

'Ballsy' Poppets revamp

01 February, 2004
Fox’s Confectionery is relaunching the Poppets range of chocolates with what the company describes as a ‘ballsy’ new image and new packaging.

Green car care

01 February, 2004
Turtle Wax has launched a range of ecologically friendly car care products, which are free of artificial colourings or dyes.
Pringles is entering the dipping snack category with the launch of a range of dipping chips and dips. Pringles Dippers and Pringles Dips is said to be the ‘biggest ever’ new product launch for Pringles UK and Ireland, backed by a £3.5m marketing spend.

New year, new shades

01 February, 2004
FosterGrant has unveiled its 2004 collection of sunglasses with price-points from £7.99 to £30.
Lever Fabergé has launched an aloe vera variant of its Vaseline Lip Therapy lip salve. Packaged in a 20g tin, Vaseline Lip Therapy Aloe Vera has a rrp of 99p. The new variant will be supported by a nationwide ‘Love your lips’ consumer PR campaign. Adam Juniper, Vaseline Intensive Care brand executive at Lever Fabergé, said: “We hope the introduction of Aloe Vera will attract new users to the sector and in turn drive category growth.”

Werther's £4m boost

01 February, 2004
Bendicks is splashing out £4m to support its Werther’s Original confectionery brand.

Lighting up with colour

01 February, 2004
Swedish Match has launched a range of mini lights under the Cricket brand.

Thai bites go mild

01 February, 2004
Jacob’s has added a Mild Thai variant to its Thai Bites range of rice crackers in a bid to broaden the appeal of the brand.
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT 2003 saw the start of the biggest change in ownership of Britain’s forecourts to have been seen in decades. After years of seeing the oilers increase their share of non-hyper sites, the combination of wholesale site closures and disposals should herald the re-birth of the independent dealer.

Fuel prices February 2004

01 February, 2004
Data supplied by Catalist Ltd

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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 »