All Columnists articles

  • Article

    Changing habits in lockdown

    2020-07-24T15:15:00Z

    They say that eating habits have changed during the Coronavirus lockdown and it seems that’s true when it comes to our taste in sandwiches. According to a poll of 2,000 adults undertaken by bread brand Warburtons, last year’s favourite sandwich cheese has been replaced by bacon. It seems whether they’re ...

  • Article

    Important distinction between 'law' and 'guidance'

    2020-07-24T15:13:00Z

    Our ‘Legal Doctor’ Robert Botkai discusses guidance versus law

  • Article

    Unscrupulous operators ignore guidance

    2020-07-24T15:04:00Z

    Media attention has increasingly focused on unregulated re-openings of hand car washes (HCWs) after several weeks of COVID-19 lockdown. Car wash customer expectations have changed during the pandemic possibly for good. HCWs will now be expected to demonstrate that customers’ safety is taken seriously by visibly complying with government guidelines. ...

  • Article

    Minor recovery in oil prices

    2020-07-24T15:03:00Z

    Oil prices staged a minor recovery in May as major global economies tentatively emerge from lockdown. Oil demand has fallen by more than 20 mn b/d in the last three months, and the industry continues to face a murky future. Oil producing heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Russia have over-delivered ...

  • Article

    Retailer initiatives make the difference

    2020-07-24T15:01:00Z

    When the lockdown commenced in March, fuel volumes across the UK literally went over the cliff with reports from PRA members advising of 80-90% reductions in some rural areas. The average reduction was 60-65%, which was enough to produce financial shock waves for many companies. The swift action by ...

  • Article

    Another strange month

    2020-07-24T14:58:00Z

    Another strange month has passed in this weird environment that we are all trying to come to terms with as we try to return to some kind of normal. Forecourts up and down the land have been doing an amazing job it seems as they have adjusted to the unprecedented ...

  • Analysis

    Stephen Marcos Jones: director general, UKPIA

    2020-05-12T00:00:00Z

    As nations have been forced into lockdown due to Covid-19, we have seen the mightiest of governments, central banks and corporate titans laid low by a virus approximately 0.125 microns in diameter something so small as to be dwarfed by a red blood cell. While the virus is invisible, the ...

  • Analysis

    Tracy West: retail commentator

    2020-05-12T00:00:00Z

    New Kantar data shows that grocery sales were £524m higher in April 2020 than they were in April 2019, as British consumers adapted to life under lockdown. But the number of trips to supermarkets during that time hit a record low of 14 (compared to 17 when it’s business as ...

  • Analysis

    Merril Boulton: editor

    2020-05-12T00:00:00Z

    These strange and tragic times have sadly continued during a month that has seen oil prices fall to a negative position (see Argus Media column page 8) and the PRA’s chairman Brian Madderson face down "sickening" charges of profiteering levelled at fuel retailers (see News page 5). On the ...

  • Analysis

    Our ’Legal Doctor’ Robert Botkai reports on the ’new normal’

    2020-05-12T00:00:00Z

    For those who don’t already know me, I am a partner at Winckworth Sherwood solicitors. I head up the Commercial Real Estate and Licensing Team. My own practice areas are acquisitions and disposals of commercial premises and alcohol licensing. I have a special interest in petrol stations having secured one ...

  • Analysis

    Ray Blake: PRA technical director

    2020-05-12T00:00:00Z

    The Petrol Retailers Association and Car Wash Association teams are now ensconced in their own homes but continuing to represent and advise their members. Members can now access the ’Coronavirus’ section on our website, which is continuously updated to reflect the latest advice on the operation of all aspects of ...

  • Analysis

    Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

    2020-05-12T00:00:00Z

    Chaotic oil markets continued through April culminating in US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) managing the unthinkable, dipping briefly into negative territory. Oil producers announced output cuts but failed to rebalance the supply/demand equation sufficiently to stem the losses in the market initiated by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. ...

  • Analysis

    Highs and lows of NPD

    2020-04-07T00:00:00Z

    I love trying a new product so was particularly pleased with my latest haul although as with everything in life, some things were better than others. I have written quite a lot about protein bars so thought I had better start trying them. Then I spied two new bars: ...

  • Analysis

    Essential services

    2020-04-07T00:00:00Z

    Extraordinary times we’re living in, with the whole world adjusting to much-changed circumstances, and not much of a clue as to when things will return to anything that resembles ’normal’. For the forecourt sector it’s been a period of peaks and troughs as the panic-buying hordes loaded their cars with ...

  • Analysis

    Kevin Eastwood: executive director, BOSS

    2020-04-07T00:00:00Z

    We have found ourselves in unchartered territory and everyone involved in the forecourt sector has been reflecting on what the public health crisis has meant for ourselves, our families and our businesses. Our highest priority during the crisis is the health and safety of our colleagues, customers, suppliers and ...

  • Analysis

    Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

    2020-04-07T00:00:00Z

    A perfect storm hit oil prices in March. Just as global demand was being destroyed by the effects of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia ramped up production to unprecedented levels in a price war, alienating Opec allies and non-Opec rivals alike. Oil prices halved in March as a result, ...

  • Analysis

    James Lowman: chief executive, ACS

    2020-04-07T00:00:00Z

    We are living in a time of uncertainty with the ongoing Covid-19 situation, which has affected each and every one of us. Convenience stores, especially those open all hours on petrol forecourts, act as lifelines to their customers, keeping communities connected and providing vital services to those who need ...

  • Analysis

    Greggs on a ’roll’

    2020-03-10T00:00:00Z

    I confess to not being a massive fan of Greggs products but obviously loads of people are, including Mr West who is very partial to a Greggs sausage roll or two. In the town where I live, there are always queues of people wanting a sausage roll or other Greggs ...

  • Analysis

    Cloudy crystal ball

    2020-03-10T00:00:00Z

    My crystal ball looking into the future of petrol retailing has scarcely been cloudier. The price of Brent Crude has been falling for some weeks down from a New Year high of US$70 to just US$50 at the start of March. This resulted from bearish forecasts about oil demand ...

  • Analysis

    Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

    2020-03-10T00:00:00Z

    The potential effects of the coronavirus on the global economy dominated discussion in oil markets in February, slicing more than 20% off oil prices since January 20, when it first came to light. Benchmark crude Ice Brent hovered just above $50/bl at the close of the month, a level ...