The momentous internal and external changes experienced by TotalFinaElf over the past three years are now finding their way onto the forecourt.
Earlier this year came the announcement of a major network restructure (Forecourt Trader March and May issues); and last month the launch of a global rebranding programme, which coincides with the dropping of the Fina and Elf names that had been tagged onto Total following the merger of first Fina and then Elf.
From now on it’s just Total, according to Richard Chadderton, the company’s property services manager. “The new branding is being used as an opportunity to reinforce the Total image. We have already reimaged 10 sites, but the programme for the rollout across the whole of the UK will start in September, with a completion date of June 2004. We intend to do 80 sites a month – it should take half a day on each site – on a geographical basis.”
Another development has been the creation of a new global shop brand, Bonjour.
Paul Crane is Total UK’s shops, food and services manager. He and his team are responsible for the development of the UK programme that began last year with the opening of 10 Bonjour stores and has continued with 10 more completed so far this year. There are plans for another 40 openings by the end of 2003.
“We gave the design brief to 10 companies, and chose the Barlow Group,” says Crane. “The brief was to lay out the internals of the store in a way that would drive sales through traditional channels and also try to develop some other categories. We also wanted to understand customer behaviour and customer ‘missions’. That led to the idea of ‘zoning’ rather than just product categories.
“We liked the way the design company identified the zones without encroaching on the available store space. Most of our stores are not huge – they vary between 80-150sq m – and they achieved zoning principally by the use of drop ceilings and signage.
“The product range is not hugely different to what you’d find in other forecourt shops. But we established that the core areas of Bonjour would be alcohol; news, magazines and other media; and top-up shopping.
“We’ve grouped the sites to fit into three broad niches – transient site on a busy main road; a neighbourhood site and an urban site.
“Depending on the locality, on top of the core offer, we can also add a
premium coffee and food-to-go format, and an extended food offer for lunchtime trade such as pies, pasties and filled baguettes.”
The Bonjour shops are modified Night and Day shops of 80-150sq m. Year-on-year growth since redevelop-ment has been around 15-20 per cent.
Says Crane: “We were looking for a solution that we could roll out to the network, rather than coming up with something ideal for a 250sq m shop, but unsuitable for anything smaller.”
One six-million-litre site in Ickenham, Middlesex – a full knockdown and rebuild in 2001 that converted to Bonjour last autumn – has seen shop sales rise to almost four times the pre-development level. The 120sq m shop has also shown sales increases of almost 20 per cent in January to May of this year. Alcohol, food and groceries and fresh products now account for one-third of the turnover.
“There’s a big opportunity for forecourts in the top-up market,” says Crane. “But as an industry we’ve got to raise our game. That’s what we’ve done