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%.
In the past year there have been 42 new-build sites, only 23 of which were by the major multiple retailers a third less than the previous year; but more importantly, 16 of them were new dealer sites. There was a net reduction of just 126 sites with network numbers now standing at 8,490. Oil company sites reduced by 321 the total will be down to 1,000 by the end of 2015; and forecourt property values are holding up well a 6% increase according to Barber Wadlow with interest from private equity companies also boosting morale.
Dealers continue to raise the profile of the forecourt sector with their innovative developments, such as Westmorland which last month completed its amazing M5 Gloucester Services project with the opening of the southbound side; while Top 50 Indie HKS officially opened its superb Sandringham flagship (page 25).
On the shop side there is more positive news following Booker Group’s deal to buy Musgrave Partners GB, which comprises the Londis and Budgens business. By all accounts the Booker chief executive Charles Wilson has an impressive track record and retailers seem generally positive about the news. Also Bestway Direct (page 27) is actively pursuing forecourt retailers, with a big target to hit over the next three years, so some good retailer business to be done there too.
Meanwhile with the election over, and according to our website poll, most readers thinking the outcome is good for business,
the only fly in the ointment is the ongoing rates revaluation. But hey, let’s not spoil the start of the sunny season!