Around 6,000 people attended the International Forecourt and Fuel Equipment Exhibition and Convenience Retailing Show 2005 three-day event at the Birmingham NEC last month. So successful was the show that its frequency is being changed from once every two years, to making it an annual event from next year. Running alongside CRS 2006, IFFE 2006 will take place from March 19 to 22 at the Birmingham NEC.
Show director Neil Felton commented: “We’re delighted to be able to bring this show annually to the industry. In fact it goes to show just how important the forecourt trade is to British industry. Highlights of the 2005 show included some amazing stands, plus our Forecourt Live! table of events that covered controversial topics such as hot fuel and security. We look forward to bringing visitors even more variety in 2006.”
Visitor feedback for IFFE 2005 was excellent with many forecourt operators reporting how pleased they were to see so much equipment on display. One said he really appreciated having CRS alongside IFFE so he could see what was going on in the retail and forecourt sectors, all in one visit.
• Bigoil.net used the show to launch its In Store Digital Media (ISDM) system. ISDM is one of the fastest growing advertising sectors and retailer trials have resulted in sales increases of as much as 77%. Retailers can register for a free, no obligation seven-day trial. Sites are surveyed with screen positioning dependent on location. Seventeen-inch LCD flatscreens are currently used, which can be ceiling or wall mounted. As well as an expected upturn in sales, bigoil.net’s ISDM offers forecourt operators an additional revenue stream – 2% of the net advertising revenue produced at their site.
• As sole agents for Otto Christ, the major feature on the Wilcomatic stand was the new Christ Primus Racer, described by the company’s business development director Paul Bruen, as the “fastest, single-gantry wash in the UK market today”. Aimed at high-volume, site-restricted forecourts, it features high-powered driers; and telescopic arms that fire out and work as a twin gantry. It requires only one portal, not two; plus it can fit into a smaller bay, rather than the traditional 11m bay.
• The launch of Goodyear’s fuel nozzle means the company can now bring forecourt operators a complete petroleum dispensing system. The nozzles come in standard (50ltrs/minute, 80ltrs/minute and 120ltrs/minute) and vapour recovery. Also on show was Goodyear’s improved flexibility hose; its new chrome brass couplings; a new identification sleeve system; and breakaway valves exclusively produced for Goodyear by Swedish company Malte Products.
• Graphite introduced its new lighting unit, which has a life expectancy of 100,000 hours. This uses LED technology to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs.
• On display on the Ro-Dor stand was its latest carwash door model. Benefits include double-skin construction to reduce noise pollution plus excellent thermal properties to prevent equipment freezing during the winter. The company says that if its doors are used to enclose the carwash bay when the forecourt is closed, the risk of vandalism is reduced.
• VBi showed off the extension to its Illumina range – the Illumina outdoor payment terminal (OPT). This is a standalone terminal with a touchscreen. It is chip and pin enabled, and can be situated anywhere on the forecourt. As with the standard Illumina terminal, it can be used to purchase other products. Meanwhile the VBi 3000 Site Controller boasts superb network connectivity with the software designed to interface with OPTs, car washes, price signs and tank gauge systems as well as pumps. Also on show were the Indexia intelligent point of sale system and the Intellia back office control system.
• Washtec used car wash tunnels to highlight the features of its new SoftCare Juno and SoftCare Evo systems. They both feature the latest technology and high-grade components, coupled with precision control and low maintenance requirements. The company claims the SoftCare Juno is the fastest gantry car wash system while the SoftCare Evo offers high performance.
• David Plumb & Co was never likely to be the most popular stand with retailers, according to the company’s managing director Kathy Early. “Usually retailers come to see us if they’ve got a problem,” she says. “They come to us for tank cleaning, or at the end of their life we dig the tanks out of the ground.” The Redhill, Surrey-based company offers cost-effective and professional tank cleaning, tank removal and a full service station and refuelling site decommissioning and demolition service.
THE LOWDOWN ON CRS
Running alongside IFFE was CRS, which was also deemed a great success. Raj Tugnait, marketing director for Country Choice, which exhibited at the show said: “CRS 2005 was a cracking show – on the first day our visitor numbers were up 20% versus 2004, and 2004 was a record year. We used to attend four national shows – now we just attend CRS because it’s the annual event for the c-store industry.”
The Virtual Store, which stood in the centre of the show, was a big hit. Visitors entered a darkened theatre to watch the perfect c-store come to life on film. Around 800 people visited the attraction, taking away with them lots of trading tips.
Another crowd pleaser was the Magnum SenseStation where professional dancers performed at regular intervals. Visitors could enter the SenseStation roadshow and work their way through five ‘sensations’ as an introduction to the new Magnum Five Senses ice cream range.
Both Ideas to Take Away and the Shop Project were also popular with retailers keen to get some free business-building advice.
• The Country Choice stand was emblazoned with the new Bake & Bite imagery, which has already been installed in more than 250 stores. The company also showed off its new improved French bread range. Not only is it a better tasting product for the consumer, it has been made easier for the retailer to bake and handle. A new free ticketing system was on the stand. It’s a turnkey solution of shelf edge labels that look professional and contain all the legal information required for each product in the Country Choice range.
• Cuisine de France also had a new look supported by merchandising with the message: “New look, same great taste’. Its Pierre’s brand has four new savoury bars: breakfast, cheese & onion, Cornish and chicken tikka masala. There are also two new savoury slices: steak and chicken & mushroom plus a Pops range of handheld snacks. These pizza dough pockets come with a choice of fillings: sausage & onion brekkie; chicken curry; pepperoni pizza; and three-cheese pizza. New equipment was also on offer: an entry level heated display unit and entry level savoury concept. Both are ideal for smaller stores.
• A new range of sausage rolls was on show on the Ginsters stand, plus reminders of its sponsorship of Friends’ spin-off Joey on Channel 5.
• Kellogg’s unveiled four new cereal bars. The Crunchy Nut range has a new chocolate variant that uses real milk chocolate, while the nutty variety is caramel-flavoured with peanut clusters, almonds, pecan and crunchy nut flakes. Nutty only comes in a multipack, but the chocolate bar is available singly, for 35p. Chocolate is also on the menu for Special K, for its chocolate chip bar. Made with a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips, it contains just 90 calories. Rrp is 37p. Finally the Nutri-Grain range has a new blackberry & apple flavour.
• MyFotoStop offered forecourts a new revenue stream – digital photo printing machines. Its PrintPod takes up just 2.7sq ft, it has a user-friendly colour touch screen and the facility for customers to enhance and frame their pictures instantly. The company says the unit requires no staff intervention.
• PayPoint was touting for a further 1,000 agents at CRS. It currently has five million customers and needs more outlets to cope with demand.
• A big hit at the show was Chaser for Wine, the new headache prevention capsule from Tower Health. The product’s natural ingredients absorb congeners, the by-products of the fermentation process that cause people to get headaches from
• Unilever announced its investment of a further £500,000 in its Partners for Growth category management initiative. The aim of Partners for Growth is to help retailers and suppliers recoup some of the £1bn lost each year because consumers cannot find what they are looking for in-store. Retailers can register to become a partner by calling 0800 107 7900.
• A DVD vending machine was the star of the VBO stand. The company unveiled two machines – one for internal locations and one for external sites. Suitable for busy sites, rental charges can be set by the hour, day or a number of days, with prices starting at 99p for six hours. Customers pay by credit or debit card.