Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
May
Data supplied by Catalist
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Fuel prices: April 25, 2006

Results of this month's online poll:

Will you donate to the ACS fighting fund to challenge the march of the supermarkets?
Some forecourts are now displaying £1- a-litre signs
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Retailers fuming over Shell stance

As the pound sign begins to break out on forecourts around the country, the running sore over Shell's long-standing 'cut-price' strategy is also adding to the tension felt by retailers.

grocery digest

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is expected to officially announce shortly that the grocery market is to be referred to the Competition Commission for investigation. More than 1,000 submissions have reportedly been received by the OFT since its draft ruling in March saying it was 'minded' to refer the market.
Water and energy drinks had a very good year in forecourt stores
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Thirsty work

Consumers guzzled their way through more than 14 billion litres of soft drinks last year as the total market grew by 5%. For manufacturers the focus was on the increasing demand for healthier choices, which was reflected in the number of new products boasting 'better for you' credentials.

Products and promotions

Coca-Cola Enterprises has just added an apple variant to its low-calorie Fanta Z range. It is available in 330ml cans and 500ml and 2ltr bottles.
Make the most of summer sales opportunities
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Grill seekers

The summer brings with it all sorts of sales opportunities. Hot days mean heavy demand for ice creams and cold drinks. Day trippers need to fill up their cars with fuel and their passengers with snacks, while holiday makers need to buy those last-minute items like batteries for the camera. Then there are the picnics and barbecues to cater for, and barbecues have become something of a national institution. Whatever the weather, if a summer barbecue's been planned you can bet it will still take place. According to the National BBQ Association, 100 million barbecues took place in the UK last year, making us Europe's biggest barbecue fanatics.

Summer sellers

- InBev UK is launching an authentic Aussie 'tinnie' size can for Castlemaine XXXX. The 375ml tinnie, which is the standard lager can size in Australia, will be available in four, 12 and 20-packs alongside the 440ml can packs. A new design emphasises the famous XXXX logo on a yellow and green background - the national colours of Australia. The brand is backed by a national radio campaign on Talksport and also on Real Radio in the Rugby League heartlands to celebrate its role as Official Beer of Rugby League in the UK.

Making the grade

Pumps are the backbone of the forecourt business and advances in technology mean that a retailer's options are ever-increasing. The advent of Chip & PIN-enabled outdoor payment terminals means that unmanned or day/night operations and fast-fuel lanes are now secure possibilities. New fuels such as bio-diesel and LPG offer further choices. And imminent government legislation on Stage II Vapour Recovery is also set to have an impact on the decisions retailers make when installing new equipment.

Top tips

I've a confession to make. I don't like football - I can't see the point of it. There are a million things I'd rather do than chase a ball around a muddy bit of grass for 90 minutes. But that's me. Apparently people love football. Okay - and here's the second part of my confession - I don't like football but I did go to a 'proper' football match once (England versus Germany in Euro '96) and it was exciting. Also, I have been known to watch the odd World Cup game and I have to admit that some of the players are very easy on the eye. Anyway enough of my confessions and onto the tips. My tip is to throw yourself into World Cup fever as much as you can. Everyone's doing it already so there's got to be money in it. The other day I went into M&S and had to fight my way past a large goal complete with model players just to get inside the door, and once inside I was greeted by red and white hats, balls and all sorts of paraphernalia.
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As the smaller/family owned independent forecourt businesses continue to be acquired by the big operators, do you think now could be the right time for you to sell up?