Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
Dealers have struggled to compete with Shell's prices
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PRA seeks OFT reaction to Shell

Shell's cut-price fuel strategy in certain parts of the country has prompted the Petrol Retailer's Association to write a letter of complaint to the Office of Fair Trading, pushing for a meeting to discuss the matter in depth.

Raising the stakes

Service and standards are under the microscope as the Jet brand pursues excellence across its 540-strong dealer network with a programme called 'HI'.
Steve Jones (seated) with professional barber Tom Carter
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Barber queue

Rather than tear his hair out trying to think of new ways to boost his business, Steve Jones of Nuns' Bridges Filling station on the A134 in Thetford, Norfolk, has decided to have it cut instead. Last month he opened a barber's salon in his 1,800sq ft Spar store, which includes a Post Office, off licence, bakery and dry cleaning service (as well as a very posh loo).

Travelling bite

Busy Britons are said to be Europe's biggest spenders on meals on the go - racking up an average bill of £120 per person a year, according to research company Datamonitor.

Measure for measure

The average petrol retailer could be losing as much as £15,000 per site, each year, due to indifferent monitoring of his fuel stock. And that's just for starters.

Cashing in

Cash machine users in forecourts spend more money per visit than the average forecourt shopper, and they visit the forecourt store more frequently. These findings come from the Convenience Tracking Programme 2006, which found that forecourt shoppers who used an ATM on site spent £5.40 per trip versus the forecourt average of £4.22, plus they visited the store 2.6 times a week against the forecourt average of 2.1 times a week.
Atlantis' Peter Spencer is hoping to secure tax breaks for water recycling systems
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Tax break hope as deadline looms

A drought-order deadline of August 9 looms for 140 retailers in the Thames Water area, who are hoping for a decision in their favour to avoid closure of their car-wash operations.

Spar sets 600-site target

Symbol group Spar aims to boost its forecourt estate to 600 stores over the next two years, according to the company's retail director Richard Bennett.
A cashier was shot in the face at the BP garage in Hooley
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Gun crimewave hits garage forecourts

There has been a spate of gun crimes against forecourts in recent weeks. In the worst case, a cashier was shot in the face. The incident happened on July 27 at around 5pm, at the Star Lane BP garage in Hooley, Surrey.

Waitrose rapped for 'short' fuel

Waitrose has been fined £5,700 for selling short measure diesel to customers.
Bigger spend in grocery-branded forecourt stores
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Grocery branding beats the 'oil' shops

Shoppers in grocery-branded forecourt stores - such as Budgens and Sainsbury's Local - spend 75% more than in oil company-branded stores, according to shopper research specialist HIM in its latest Convenience Tracking Programme report.
Data supplied by Catalist
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Fuel prices: August 1, 2006

In brief

Texaco Limited has changed its corporate name to Chevron Limited, in a move to present a more unified presence across the world. The company says the change will not affect its business operations in the UK. Texaco-branded service stations and fuel products and the Havoline lubricants brands will remain the same.
Pictures taken on July 31 in the Burgess Hill area of West Sussex
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Squeezy Street

Why is Shell doing it? It's the question on the lips of certain dealers having to operate within the vicinity of a cluster of Shell co-owned sites that, for some time, have been displaying fuel prices totally out of sync with other local forecourts. In these areas, while many forecourts are struggling to keep prices below the £1 per litre mark, Shell's poll signs have been conspicuous at 95.9ppl.

Shop Doctor: St Michaels Garage, Swanage, Dorset

There are three forecourts with shops within five miles on the A351, from Corfe Castle to Swanage. There are two Texacos and sandwiched in between, at the village of Harmans Cross, a BP/Londis Express.
Data supplied by EKW group
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Database: Where angels fear to tread

It seems that hardly a day goes by without another move by the major oil companies to leave behind their traditional role of forecourt retailing, with or without divesting themselves of some real estate at the same time. While in some quarters this is seen as an extremely good thing, and creates opportunities for enterprising retailers to expand their operations, as accountants and business advisors we sometimes have to play 'party pooper' and remind potential operators of a few of the harsh realities and risks involved in sudden changes to their business. So here, in no particular order, are a few things to consider when that 'once in a lifetime offer' arrives in the post.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

Roger Westrope rang after he read our last issue. Roger, who runs North Street Garage at Haverhill in Suffolk, rightly guessed that the anonymous computer company that had caused an anonymous retailer such grief was YP Electronics. However, things are getting better, he promises.

BP first with Pegasus

BP is trialling the UK's first Ceccato Pegasus car wash at a flagship site in Oxford.

Viable tank gauge

A wireless tank gauging system has been launched by Gilbarco Veeder-Root. The TLS-RF wireless communication system allows fuel retailers to install automatic tank monitoring in situations where it would previously have been too costly or impractical to fit the necessary wiring.

The three-in-one bin

A new three-in-one forecourt bin has been launched by Glasdon UK.

Retro-fit solution

Dresser Wayne Pignone is promoting its retro-fit solutions for Stage Two vapour recovery ahead of legislation which comes into force this autumn.

KitKat gets fresh

New-style packaging and a dark chocolate four-finger variant are the highlights of a new programme of activity for KitKat, Nestlé Rowntree's flagship brand.

Masterful spend

A £4.5m media spend by Masterfoods looks set to drive demand for its Celebrations and Maltesers brands in the run-up to Christmas.

Energy pumps into forecourts

Forecourts and motorway service stations are being targeted by a major Lucozade Energy marketing programme, including sampling, which is expected to reach one million people.

Quality ice creams

Ice cream versions of the three biggest-selling sweets from the Quality Street line-up are being launched in September by Richmond Ice Cream.

Crispy apple launch

Fruit snacks specialist Whitworths is giving the healthy snacking category a boost with the launch of its first-ever crisps product, targeting people who regularly eat crisps but who want 'genuinely' healthy alternatives.

Better than ever

Snacking brand Pringles should be tastier, crunchier and more healthy following the introduction of a new recipe which has taken out 30% of the saturated fat from each chip.

Doritos goes for growth

Walkers Crisps is hoping to drive growth of its Doritos brand by restructuring the range with the introduction of a new sizzling barbecue flavour and the inclusion of hint of lime and lightly salted flavours into the core range.

Jellybeans move in

Leaf is bolstering its position in impulse with the launch of Chewits Fruities jellybeans.

Pillow hits the spot

Spot Promotions has delivered the Beano Squishie to savvy petrol retailers who are retailing it at half the price of high street stores.

Mo'gas: An irreverant view from the network

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I'm a bit of a footie fan. Now I'm not talking here as a 'World Cup convert.' I'm talking instead as a dyed-in-the wool terrace fan, the sort that actually didn't mind standing on an open terrace at 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon with the rain pouring down his neck, provided his team was stuffing their local rivals.
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Weekly retail fuel prices: 13 May 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands134.3163.90142.71128.51
North East133.45141.14128.34
North West133.87139.66128.19
Northern Ireland131.69134.87127.12
South East135.1064.90141.55129.70
South West134.4267.90138.19129.02
West Midlands134.0264.90141.51128.62
Yorkshire & Humber133.3863.90141.59128.06

Most read

Following the response by Sainsbury's and Asda to the CMA's damning provisional findings on their proposed merger, do you agree with the PRA's assessment that their proposed solutions to the concerns could result in hundreds of forecourt closures?