Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
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Highs and lows of NPD

I love trying a new product so was particularly pleased with my latest haul although as with everything in life, some things were better than others.

Kevin Eastwood: executive director, BOSS

We have found ourselves in unchartered territory and everyone involved in the forecourt sector has been reflecting on what the public health crisis has meant for ourselves, our families and our businesses.

Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

A perfect storm hit oil prices in March. Just as global demand was being destroyed by the effects of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia ramped up production to unprecedented levels in a price war, alienating Opec allies and non-Opec rivals alike.

James Lowman: chief executive, ACS

We are living in a time of uncertainty with the ongoing Covid-19 situation, which has affected each and every one of us.

Essential services

Extraordinary times we're living in, with the whole world adjusting to much-changed circumstances, and not much of a clue as to when things will return to anything that resembles 'normal'. For the forecourt sector it's been a period of peaks and troughs as the panic-buying hordes loaded their cars with loo rolls, pasta and all things 'anti-bacterial' and initially filled their tanks to the brim with fuel.

Greggs on a 'roll'

I confess to not being a massive fan of Greggs products but obviously loads of people are, including Mr West who is very partial to a Greggs sausage roll or two. In the town where I live, there are always queues of people wanting a sausage roll or other Greggs delight, that snake out of the door. Despite my not being a fan, I am very impressed with the company's sales success going from a regional brand to a UK-wide phenomenon. The company's preliminary results for 2019 show total sales up 13.5% to £1.17bn and pre-tax profits up 27%. They also revealed a very strong start to 2020, with January sales good but slowing down in February which was put down to the storms across much of the UK.

Alexander Russell: consultant, Car Wash Association (CWA)

This year the CWA has already attended two round-table conferences on labour abuse, hosted by Matthew Taylor, the government's interim director at the Office of Labour Market Enforcement (OLME).

Chris Judge: analysis editor, Argus Media

The potential effects of the coronavirus on the global economy dominated discussion in oil markets in February, slicing more than 20% off oil prices since January 20, when it first came to light.

Cloudy crystal ball

My crystal ball looking into the future of petrol retailing has scarcely been cloudier.

E10 on the horizon

The spectre of E10 is on the horizon again following this month's announcement of a government consultation on its introduction (seems like there have been a few over the years!). Issues concerning E10 have been kicked into the long grass for a long time as the fuel retailing industry fretted over its introduction due to its lack of suitability for older cars, and the investment required to accommodate it on many forecourts.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 6 April 2020
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East117.0463.90126.40111.09
East Midlands116.69123.64110.94
London117.64130.78113.59
North East114.52128.57108.80
North West115.5869.90124.67110.44
Northern Ireland112.26105.71
Scotland115.24124.97109.51
South East117.76127.48112.59
South West116.50123.98110.63
Wales115.28116.70108.93
West Midlands116.74130.15110.50
Yorkshire & Humber115.67119.64110.20

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As fuel volumes fall dramatically across the nation, do you fear having to close your forecourt operation as a consequence of the coronavirus lockdown?

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