Happy New Year to you all. Made me smile to see the supermarkets getting a slating over their pricing strategies for a change, instead of always the traditional fuel retailing fraternity.
As we kicked off 2016, the RAC’s first report of the year slammed the big four supermarkets’ fuel pricing strategy (see News page 4 and more on our website www.forecourttrader.co.uk), accusing them of funding headline-grabbing price cuts in unleaded petrol before Christmas by taking a bigger margin from their diesel customers. "It looks very much like the supermarkets will have attracted extra customers into their stores before Christmas with the headline-grabbing price of 99.9ppl on petrol but have cleverly made up for any lost profit by taking a bigger margin on diesel sales by not passing on the savings in wholesale price to motorists on the forecourt," said a suddenly enlightened RAC spokesman.
Well er yes. It’s called business. And the supermarkets are very good at it - especially the headline-grabbing price cut announcements - giving the impression the rest of the trade are slouches when it comes to bringing prices down. But actually they’re just the same as everyone else in trying to tweak and balance their prices to maximise return from their customer base. It’s about time they shared some of the flak for it too. On the other hand, being a diesel driver, I find the strategy really annoying!
There were also a few wry smiles following last month’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Fuel inquiry into what the industry regards as the ’myth’ of ’rocket and feather’ pricing. Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuel campaign claimed he was none the wiser following three hours of detailed explanations about how retail fuel prices are reached.
Yes it’s rather complex, but could his ’lack of understanding’ be a deliberate ploy? After all, if he did understand, there wouldn’t be much of a Fair Fuel campaign left!