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A chance meeting at the Top 50 Indies dinner in 2017 with a Phillips 66 executive led to Tariq Majid, director at Majid & Sons, to agree a new supply deal with the Jet brand.

Raising the roof at Barton Mills

It's been a long time closed, but last month the MRH team proudly opened the doors on its glorious 6mlpa site at Barton Mills, on the busy Fiveways Roundabout on the A11 near Bury St Edmunds. It is the last major development currently planned following MFG's acqusition of the company which will be completed this month and bears all the hallmarks of the type of modern and stylish developments and upgrades that have taken place throughout the MRH network under CEO Karen Dickens.

Dynamic retailers invest in growth

Just as the ink was drying on this year's Top 50 Indies report, the sector demonstrated how dynamic it is when the number two ranked MFG agreed a deal to take over its bigger rival MRH, which was occupying the number one spot. The deal will create a company with more than 900 sites, more than twice the size of its nearest UK rival EG Group, which has 375 sites in the UK but can also point to a much larger estate in Europe.

Pastures green

If you want to be inspired about the potential of forecourt retailing, you could do no worse than a visit to our friends in the Republic of Ireland, where Forecourt Trader was recently taken on a whistle-stop tour of some of the brightest and best sites around Dublin.

Back in the game

Former Top 50 Indie Hockenhull Garages (HGS) has opened a new petrol station and convenience store in South Wigston, Leicester. It is the first forecourt development for the company's founder and chairman, Peter Hockenhull, since he came out of retirement at the age of 76 to assist in running the business with his son Joe, the managing director.

Brothers in Euro vision

While many forecourt retailers fuss over the high prices of sites in the UK thwarting growth, Blackburn-based Euro Garages continued its march into Europe with the acquisition of ExxonMobil's retail assets in Germany last month. In one fell swoop Euro Garages which operates under its parent, EG Group Ltd, as far as its European operations is concerned added a further 1,000 sites to its ever-expanding network, which now stands close to an eye-watering 3,500 sites across Europe, employing a staggering 12,500 people.

Applegreen - winner by design

M1 Lisburn was designed to be bigger and better than anything Applegreen had done before, and so it proved. At the Forecourt Trader awards ceremony in September, the company walked off with the biggest prize the Forecourt Trader of the Year trophy. "We were absolutely delighted to win this award we're thrilled," says John Diviney, who took over as Applegreen's UK managing director in December 2016, having worked in most departments in his four and a half years with the company, including finance, warehouse, food, marketing and loyalty.

A merry dance

You know standards are high at the forecourt at Toomey's Southend Motor Village when you arrive and spot the manager Mark Dance straightening a sign on one of the petrol pumps. It's not so much that he's adjusting the sign, more that he's wearing suit trousers, a shirt, tie and waistcoat. But, once you visit the forecourt and the accompanying Spar store, you realise his outfit reflects the business' incredibly high standards. Mark runs the site for owner, Michael Toomey, who has a second forecourt at Basildon. The Southend site, a busy transient one on Cherry Orchard Way a connecting road from Southend to Rochford opened in October 2008, with a 1,683sq m canopy, which at the time was the largest on any petrol filling station in Europe.

Bonds that drive profit

With eight Texaco branded service stations and convenience stores, 14 workshops, a major wholesale tyre business, a rental property business, emus, deer, cattle and around 800 new-born lambs to contend with, it's not surprising that Richard Whittemore is up before dawn most mornings. While Richard's main focus is his automotive businesses, he represents many modern forecourt retailers who have diversified their business portfolio to ensure success, with their forecourts being just one string to their business bow.

Rising to the challenge

There have been many petrol filling station knock-down-rebuilds which have transformed the existing site into a modern-day forecourt operation, but perhaps few have required quite such vision and creativity to maximise the opportunity, as the owner of Abbeyside Services in Selby, Nick Baker. He has built an imposing two-storey modern forecourt operation with a total of 4,000sq ft of floor space, on a tiny, crazily-shaped plot of less than half an acre a triangulated piece of land which tapers sharply at the back to a width of a couple of feet. Where there was once a small and dated forecourt with a tiny Mace shop, now stands a large glass-fronted building, high and proud on one of the main roads into the centre of town, attracting both commuters and local residents to its mesmerising array of offers.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 2 December 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East130.4464.90137.85126.18
East Midlands129.9982.90139.43126.05
London130.54139.65126.88
North East128.54136.77124.41
North West129.2561.90138.14125.60
Northern Ireland127.29130.90123.52
Scotland129.94136.84125.21
South East131.0865.90138.76126.97
South West129.90137.19125.67
Wales129.05134.76124.63
West Midlands129.85138.70125.98
Yorkshire & Humber129.2763.90138.21125.38

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