When Booker acquired Musgrave Retail Partners GB last summer, it said it had a track record of turning around ’challenged businesses’. Its extremely accomplished CEO Charles Wilson said Booker, Londis and Budgens were joining forces to help independent retailers prosper.

Well the deal announced with MFG last month (see News Extra page 10) will certainly give the Budgens and Londis brands a boost; and under the capable stewardship of the MFG team, an ’independent retailer’ will certainly prosper especially if they pursue the Budgens format.

In our Fuel Market Review last year Experian Catalist ranked Budgens as the second most effective forecourt fascia (shop market share/shop outlet share) after BP M&S Simply Food. It has always looked smart and seemed ahead of the forecourt convenience shop game when it appeared on the company owned Q8 sites many years ago, because it had a striking fresh offer greeting customers as they entered. It seems to have taken years for other fascias to catch up in this regard.

Many winners of our Forecourt Trader awards have featured stunning Budgens stores Symonds Forecourts, the Tout’s, Simon Smith Group, the Frasers. I’ve always thought the Budgens stores looked classy the ’Waitrose’ of the forecourt sector and offer something a bit different.

According to Experian Catalist there were just 39 Budgens stores on UK forecourts in UK forecourts in January 2016. This compared with 799 Spar stores, 390 Costcutter stores and 352 Mace stores. As Forecourt Trader observed at the time of the takeover last June, the UK’s biggest wholesaler was under-represented in the forecourt sector.

I look forward to seeing a variety of new formats especially when I’m out and about judging the Forecourt Trader Awards. Which reminds me it’s time to get those awards entries in.

The deadline is Friday, May 13!