Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Arval promises card fee review

Fuel card company Arval has agreed to review its charges, following uproar by retailers in the wake of soaring fuel prices. In a statement issued to Forecourt Trader, Arval said it was talking to retailers about making changes to its current system. Danny

It never rains but it pours

Mogas has certainly hit the nail on the head this month (see page 58) - as he does, let's face it most months - with his comments about everything happening at once. After all we've had ridiculously fast-rising fuel prices, falling demand, supplier price increases, tanker driver strikes, forecourts running dry, growing numbers of drive-offs and even a new kind of theft - 'hooded bilkers with jerry cans'. There's also the headache about biofuels and bugs; and the erosion of car wash business being valiantly tackled by the Car Wash Association. And that's just the forecourt side of the business.

Iain Watkins

== Why has the government proposed to ban or restrict tobacco displays in shops? ==

Making a good impression

When it comes to forecourts, first impressions are everything. If a motorist approaches your site and it looks shabby, they're likely to drive on to the next one. So forecourt maintenance should be top of the list for retailers in today's highly competitive market.

Jelly good show

Gums and jellies now account for around 25% of sugar confectionery sales. According to AC Nielsen data, sales increased 4% in the past 12 months, which was slightly ahead of the sugar confectionery market as a whole.

Booze news

Rarely a day goes by without alcohol being the subject of a news story in the national newspapers. It could be about the middle classes indulging in too much wine, or the grocery multiples being slammed for selling alcohol at too low a price. But whatever the story nothing seems to scupper the UK consumer's love of a tipple or two, which is good news for forecourts with off licences.

Threat to Scotland's alcohol licences

Four out of five forecourts in Scotland are in danger of losing their alcohol licences under new legislation. And the ramifications could spread to the rest of the country, retailers have been warned by licensing practitioner Chris Mitchener.

New class of 'bilking'

Soaring fuel costs have led to a new class of 'bilkers' in one East Midlands city. Forecourts in Leicester are reporting a growing number of people wearing hooded jackets going to the pumps, quickly filling jerry cans with petrol, and running off. And outlets in

ExxonMobil quits US retail market

ExxonMobil Corp is quitting the retail fuel market in the US, and sticking to wholesale operations. The company said the exit from its direct served - dealer and company operated - business would "include the conversion of a majority of

Biofuels the hottest topic at Esso forum

Concerns over handling biofuels on the forecourt were the hot topic at last month's Esso Dealer Forum, which was themed 'In Good Company'. The two-day event, held at The Belfry hotel in the West Midlands last month, included a series of seminars on topical issues, with the biofuels seminar proving extremely popular with retailers. Issues raised included how retailers should prepare their site for a delivery of the new controversial 'eco' fuels.

Manor - flying high with airport deal

Manor Service Stations, number 19 in the Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies 2008 listing, has won the contract to run the two service stations at Manchester Airport. The two sites, at Terminals One and Two, will be run by the Macclesfield-based business for 10

in brief

Harvest Energy has signed up three Jet-branded forecourts owned by Sectorsure Limited. The sites, Grange Filling Station, Rayleigh in Essex; and London sites Cricklewood Broadway Service Station and Goldhawk Road Service Station, will be rebranded over the next couple of months.

Fuel prices - June 25, 2008

Would you credit it?

Customers can no longer fill up at the pumps using their Arval fuel cards at Nuns' Bridges Filling Station in Norfolk. Due to rising fuel costs pushing up the amount of commission he was paying, the site's owner, Steve Jones, found he was running the service at a loss. But as there was still plenty of demand from

In the surgery this month - Oakdene Service Station, Ulnes Walton, Leyland, Lancs

Oakdene Service Station is situated at Ulnes Walton, Leyland (between Chorley and Preston). It pumps Texaco fuel and has a Londis shop but what sets it apart is its prize-winning off licence.

Control freakery

There's a sense of panic on many forecourts these days with customers fuming at prices, blaming the retailer, but then queuing up if your prices stay a penny or two cheaper than the ones down the road for a few hours. Then there are tanker drivers threatening to cut off supplies and pumps covered as sites run out of fuel. There are epidemic quantities of drive-offs. A fortune in cash to count and bank every day. It's no surprise then that many operators say they feel totally stressed out trying to run their businesses 'as normal' in times that feel very far from 'normal'. The worst part of it is that there's no end in sight - welcome to the new reality of petroleum retailing.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

== Accepting cards can be a costly business ==

level headed

While major oil companies tend to hog the headlines with their various activities - sometimes good, sometimes bad - some of the smaller players in the market enjoy less of the limelight. One such company is ConocoPhillips - with its Jet-branded, dealer-only network - which, according to the company's dealer business manager, Patrick Hudson, has been busy working away seemingly behind the scenes, but focusing strongly on its core market of 'locally-based' service stations. Its network has 425 Jet dealer sites - that's more dealers than Shell (309), Esso (265), and Total (341).

Be prepared

Last summer's floods taught the industry one very important lesson: invest in a good insurance policy, or be prepared to pay the penalty. And those retailers who had prepared for the worst and had made sure they had a sturdy insurance policy in place fared best, no doubt heaving a huge sigh of relief that they hadn't just plumped for the cheapest premium.

Cleaning up your act

UK company Ecologia has developed what it calls a "ground-breaking remediation technique", which can be used to clean up forecourts.

Da Vinci roll-out

Kruger Tissue is expanding its Da Vinci range of washroom products. There are four toilet tissue dispensers, including two twin roll models. The compact, transparent Arctic blue Versatwin has a gravity-assisted mechanism for a more ergonomic transfer to the second roll.

PayPoint card deal

PayPoint has launched a credit and debit agreement with Lloyds TSB which aims to ensure retailers get the best deal on credit and debit card payments. The deal means retailers pay a maximum of 1.4% on credit card payments and 14p on debit cards.

Oven with benefits

The Fri-Jado Bake Basic 3P programmable oven, designed for small-scale baking needs, is now available exclusively from Equip Line.

Trident kicks off

Trident adds two new additions to its range this month: Sweet Kicks chocolate mint gum and Fresh mouth-watering gum, available in 'oooh peppermint', 'aahh spearmint' and 'coool lemon' flavours.

Diageo sponsors C4

Diageo GB has announced that Guinness and Baileys Irish Cream will be joint sponsors of network films on Channel 4. The sponsorship is worth almost £5m and will run for a year from mid-July.

Mars teams up with MySpace

Mars Planets and social networking site MySpace ( have launched a search for the hottest new music-presenting talent in the UK through a radio show, MySpace Mars Planets Radio.

Taste the Big Apple

Ginsters has added a New York-style steak & cheese pasty to its range. The new snack is part of the company's Pasties of the World range and is also part of a brand relaunch - it replaces the company's Indian-style pasty.

Total snack is just Divine

Total has started stocking fairtrade Divine Chocolate in a 45g countline bar.

Go Wild this summer

BP has added a number of limited edition lines to its Wild Bean Café range this summer.

Sharing gets healthy

Walkers has launched its SunBites and Baked better-for-you brands in sharing packs. The company says the move aims to capitalise on the growing number of consumers buying healthier snacks.

Serving up a treat

Haagen-Dazs has been named the official ice cream supplier of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships for the third consecutive year.

Make some lolly

Fredericks Dairies has launched an exciting new product - Bassetts Jelly Babies Wobbly Lollies.

Back to school

Leading stationery manufacturer Bic has teamed up with Forecourt Trader to give away one fully stocked free standing display unit containing a selection of Bic back to school stationery.

Exotic infusions

Summer 2008 sees the launch of two limited-edition Eastern flavour additions to the Pringles Rice Infusions range. The new sweet & sour and Peking duck with hoi sin sauce variants are both expected to drive increased "consumer engagement" with the UK's number one large sharing brand overall, and the Rice Infusions range in particular. The variants are available in store now until the end of the summer.

Pretzel prizes

UK pretzel manufacturer Intersnack has revealed plans to relaunch its premium brand Penn State.


They say that the advantage of being experienced is that there are very few situations that catch you by surprise. Having been around the block a few times, when something crops up that seems extraordinary to others you can just give a wistful smile because you've seen it all before and, more importantly, you know how to deal with it.
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Weekly retail fuel prices: 10 June 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands134.59140.57129.69
North East133.19142.40129.15
North West134.1363.90139.73129.13
Northern Ireland131.34135.32128.05
South East135.2562.40141.74130.52
South West134.5167.90140.57129.57
West Midlands134.34140.64129.70
Yorkshire & Humber133.72140.40129.24

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