There’s been a lot of worrying stuff in the news recently and I’m not talking about the campaign for the General Election, which will be done and dusted by the time anyone reads this. Whatever your persuasion we will, of course, have to make the best of the outcome, but at least we won’t have to bear the ugly sight of potential candidates and audiences catfighting on the TV any more.
What is more concerning is the atrocious terror attacks that have punctuated the beginning, middle and end of the election trail, the London Bridge atrocity being just last weekend as I write this, so top of mind. Just an hour before that took place, a Texaco station in Manchester found itself the focus of a potential terror threat when armed police swooped on a customer and briefly closed down the site (see News Extra page 10). While these situations are (hopefully) rare, it shows that everyone needs to be vigilant. People are far too complacent about service stations as evidenced by criminals using explosives to blow up cash machines. Do they realise there are thousands of litres of a very volatile liquid beneath them? We have compiled some information from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, the PRA and advice put out to staff by Euro Garages. It’s as well to be prepared.
Meanwhile, on to more positive things... Our latest Fuel Market Review (see page 30), has all the latest statistics about the market, and while after three years of growth for independents, there has been a return to a similar story for the sector oil company numbers flat, a small decline in dealers there is generally a lot of confidence in the sector, and all the signs continue to be positive for retail forecourts.
In other news, IGD has predicted 18% growth for the c-store sector by 2022, and says leading forecourt dealer groups are driving some of this growth.
That would certainly be true of the biggest independent MRH (GB) (see Retail Insight page 22), which has ambitious plans to develop and grow its network. Last month it opened the first in a pilot of seven Co-op sites. The positive energy from the new chief executive Karen Dickens is reflected in the new shiny approach and that is great news.