Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
November
February 2006 is "too soon" for PIN clampdown
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Retailers warned of Chip & PIN deadline

Retailers are being warned that Valentine’s Day 2006 is D-day for Chip & PIN. It marks the start of the ‘no PIN, no purchase’ clampdown. From February 14, shoppers must use their PIN number with their cards – if they don’t, their cards may be declined.

ACS seethes as Tesco gets OFT go-ahead

The Office of Fair Trading has cleared Tesco’s acquisition of 21 former BP/Safeway forecourts from Morrisons.

BP link with M&S

BP has launched a new partnership with Marks & Spencer Simply Food at its Hammersmith forecourt. The pilot scheme, which is being rolled out at eight UK sites, will see a selected range of M&S fresh food, ready meals, sandwiches, wine, flowers and basic groceries being sold alongside multi-branded impulse goods.

Congestion charge increase hits hard

The increase in London’s congestion charge has hit forecourt businesses in the capital and Mayor Ken Livingstone plans to extend the zone into Kensington and Chelsea from 2007 which is set to make things worse. The charge in the existing zone was raised from £5 to £8 in July.

Texaco sale continues

Texaco has disposed of a further 17 sites – 14 to Petrol Express and three to Somerfield. The move is part of Texaco’s plan to dispose of all its company-owned sites and focus on its independent dealers. Texaco now has fewer than 100 sites left to sell.

Manchester policy to tackle drive-offs

Greater Manchester Police is claiming to be the first in the UK to adopt a force-wide policy to tackle drive-off crime on forecourts.

Forecourt Sales Assistant of the Year

Marilyn Nutley of the Three Elms BP/Spar Service Station in Hadlow, Kent, was named Forecourt Sales Assistant of the Year at the Sales Assistant of the Year awards, organised by sister-publication Convenience Store magazine.

Drivers opt for 'my way' not Highway

Forget the Highway Code, British drivers are more likely to be following the ‘My Way Code’ according to a poll conducted by Total.

Big Oil's big deal

Big Oil has signed a deal with Siemens Building Technologies to provide it with installation, maintenance and support for its in-store digital media network.

Vodafone 'here to help' on forecourt

Vodafone staff provided a free pump attendant and windscreen wash service at three London forecourts to support their ‘We are here to help’ campaign.

Online poll result

The results of this month’s online poll make interesting reading, for while it’s encouraging to know that more than half (56%) of the retailers who voted did have an effective plan, there were almost just as great a number out there (44%) who may not be properly prepared should another fuel crisis hit.

'Fuelies' dismiss food shopping as tedious

There’s a new breed of food shopper according to the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), and they’re called ‘fuelies’ because they view food in the same way as petrol and diesel – as a boring but essential commodity bought on price. But it’s these ‘fuelies’ who are the key challenge for the whole grocery industry says the IGD.

News in brief

WELCOME TO CLARE COLEMAN who joins Forecourt Trader as Assistant Editor, taking over from Amy Lanning who left last month to work on sister publication Convenience Store. Clare previously worked as a reporter on a local newspaper in Basingstoke and is looking forward to getting to grips with the petrol retailing industry.

Opposing fortunes

Oil companies face a huge dilemma over their retail strategies, according to Greg Hodge, retail analyst at Planet Retail, which specialises in analysis of the major retailers and retail markets worldwide.

Shop Doctor: BP Georgetown, Didcot, Oxon

Over the years I’ve heard much about the prize-winning Fraser Group, and its role in the Lakeside Group, and thought it high time I visited one of its sites. So I travelled to Georgetown, Didcot, south of Oxford. This Spar store/BP forecourt site has recently been revamped and seems ideally situated – it’s among chimney pots, is just outside Didcot and has an entrance to the Didcot Girls’ School immediately behind it. On the down side it does have competition from a Co-op ‘Swift Shop’ c-store next door.
Data supplied by EKW group
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Database: Stakeholder pensions

How many staff do you employ – six, seven, eight maybe? According to our annual PAYEpeople forecourt wages report (Forecourt Trader, Oct 05) the ‘average’ petrol retail site in the UK employs 8.2 hourly-paid staff. We know that many operators run two or three sites but it’s now becoming commonplace for one retailer to be responsible for five, six or even more sites. So it’s not unheard of for a site operator to be responsible for 30 employees, in fact it may soon be the norm. However as far as the Welfare Reform & Pensions Act 1999 is concerned, the number of staff you employ before you fall under the scrutiny of the Department of Work and Pensions is much lower than that. Five – to be precise. No, that wasn’t a misprint. If you employ five or more staff then you need to ensure that you have complied with the regulations regarding Stakeholder Pensions.

Service Centre

An abuse of power?
L-r: C-21 founders Steve Hawes and Roy Pegg, alongside Simon Davis, head of sales at Futura Petroleum
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Looking to the Futura

We’ve seen old brands reawakened from the dead – think Gulf and Regent – and low-profile brands thrust into the limelight – think Pace. But seldom – certainly not this century – have we seen an entirely new brand make its way onto the forecourt.
Susie Hawkins aimed high and came away with Forecourt Trader of the Year 2005
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Shoot for the stars

When Susie Hawkins attended her first Forecourt Trader awards ceremony back in 2002 she gave herself a goal – she wanted to be the one up there collecting the winner’s trophy. Just three years later Susie, who celebrates her 29th birthday this month, has achieved that goal, becoming one of our youngest ever winners and the first female solo entrant to pick up the petrol retailing industry’s top award, Forecourt Trader of the Year 2005.

Platform for change

There is so much focus on developing the shop side of the service station business these days, that the fuel element has become almost secondary – except where prices and margins are concerned of course.

Dinner money

The first ever ‘TV dinner’ went on sale in the United States in 1953. Costing just 98 cents, it comprised turkey with a cornbread dressing and gravy, sweet potato and peas. It was the brainwave of travelling salesman Gerry Thomas who had to come up with an idea to use up 270 tons of uneaten Thanksgiving turkey. On his travels he’d seen metal trays being tested for in-flight hot dinners and decided to use the technology himself. However his metal trays were put in cartons that replicated TV sets complete with knobs. The dinners were an instant success – 10 million were sold in the first 10 months and so the TV dinner or ready meal was born.

Festive flurry

Okay, so you’ve been bombarded by Christmas sales bumpf since June, but now’s the time to get really focused – the final few weeks really can make a difference to the bottom line.

Honeywell eyes up BP

BP has chosen Honeywell Video Systems to supply all CCTV equipment for its co-owned forecourts in the UK. Over the next 18 months all 400 BP-owned sites will be upgraded, on a priority basis, to the Honeywell digital video recorder (DVR).

Real Deals chill out

Spar Scotland has introduced a new solution for merchandising chilled promotions within its convenience stores.

Xmo Strata takes safety advice from pilots

Signage specialist Xmo Strata has consulted professional pilots about how its health and safety procedures can be made even tighter.

Clean seat every time

A self-cleaning toilet seat has been launched by new company, Invest in Health.

Lifting the lid on ads

Ad Lid, a company specialising in adverts on lids for take-out coffee, is hoping to expand its coverage by working with forecourt operators.

The dynamic duo

Masterfoods is relaunching its Snickers and Mars ‘Big Ones’. From January 2006 the kingsize countlines will be sold in a two-bar format called Duo. The new design features ‘Snap Pack’ packaging, with two pieces of chocolate inside which consumers can eat all in one go, share or save for later.

Haribo's new Starlet

Haribo Dunhills (Pontefract) is increasing its offer to retailers with more shelf-ready packs and the launch of a new product, Starlets.

Terra reduces fat by half

A new range of reduced fat premium quality crisps has been introduced by Empire Food Brokers.

Crunchie blasts off

Cadbury Trebor Bassett has launched Crunchie Blast – the first new product development for the brand in five years.

Water for women

Coca-Cola Enterprises has launched a new hypotonic sports water drink. Powerade Aqua+ is free from artificial sweeteners and preservatives and comes in two natural fruit flavours – lime and grapefruit – in 500ml format.

Hamlet's happy new packaging

Gallaher is relaunching Hamlet cigars in ‘Happiness’ packs for Christmas where ‘Happiness’ will replace the Hamlet brand name on fives and 10s packs.

Colour-coded sarnies

Ginsters has relaunched its sandwich range with new premium packaging.

Highland Spring sales sparkle

Highland Spring mineral water has new limited edition snowflake

Sweet freezer treats

Classic British desserts are back in the freezer thanks to RHM Frozen and its two new McDougalls ranges.

R for Royals

Value cigarette brand Royals has been relaunched with a more modern image by British American Tobacco (BAT UK).

Thrills but no spills

GlaxoSmithKline is re-energising its Lucozade Sport Hydro Active 500ml range with a new ‘no spills’ valve cap.

Batchelors two super flavours

Batchelors SuperNoodles has two new varieties – mild Mexican chilli and 98% fat-free smoky bacon. Both retail at 37p.

Mo'gas: An irreverent view from the network

SO THAT'S ANOTHER £2,000 a year to find. An increase of 20p an hour in the National Minimum Wage may not sound a lot (and at just over 4% it’s thankfully one of the smallest increases for a while) but if you’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allow for 20 ‘extra’ hours for cleaning, stocking and paperwork and pay four weeks holidays, £2,000 is what the bill comes to. If you want to get really depressed, chuck in the fall of mobile top-up revenues and the erosion of utility income as every little shop gets its own Paypoint/Payzone terminal and you now need to find nearly £4,000. Oh, it’s being this cheerful that keeps me going. Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom. Thank goodness for booming bottled water sales and the ever-increasing demand on car valeting is what I say.
Data supplied by Catalist
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Fuel prices: October 24, 2005

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 2 October 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East120.5363.90127.17119.00
East Midlands120.03127.76118.80
London120.3757.90128.81118.85
North East119.80129.71118.46
North West120.19127.87118.63
Northern Ireland119.22125.23117.53
Scotland120.2463.80126.78118.50
South East120.7259.90129.39119.48
South West120.39128.00119.02
Wales120.0459.90126.47118.61
West Midlands120.0865.90128.12118.84
Yorkshire & Humber119.73127.02118.57

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As many forecourt operators continue their quest for expansion - driving up forecourt prices - could you be tempted to sell your business?