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

Last month East Yorkshire-based Jos Richardson & Son proudly marked 125 years in business, with a celebratory lunch with family, friends and business associates. It was a great occasion and coincided with the official launch of the company's new £4m service station and truck- stop development on Junction 36 of the M62 at Goole a project which has taken 10 years to complete but is already paying dividends, according to managing director Joe Richardson, who runs the business with his sister Jane, and co-directors Karen Marshall and Graham Andrews: "Our HGV diesel sales have doubled, the petrol station is 30% up on previous retail sales and rising," he says. "The shop is already at £30k, and rising. The Subway is at £7k a week. So we're very happy."

Driving retail

As the first of the MRH/Co-op trial sites opened last month in High Road, Eastcote, west of London it was a great moment for MRH chief executive Karen Dickens and her team, who are on a focused mission to upgrade and grow the company's network. The opening was a very jolly occasion, with children from a local primary school doing the honours, on an open day attended by local dignitaries and executives from MRH and Lone Star, the US private equity firm that bought MRH in January 2016.

Blood, sweat and hopefully no tears

Regular readers of Forecourt Trader will be familiar with the long-running saga of Tollgate Services, a Shell site just off the A2 at Gravesend. They will also therefore be familiar with the determination of its owner, Simon Privett, to defy plans by BP to build a service station and drive-thru McDonald's just 50m from his site, which could ruin his business.

King of the road

Aas the news broke that Rontec was extending its partnership with Morrisons with plans for a further 40 Morrisons Daily convenience stores across its network, I was in the hot seat literally in the back of the car with Rontec's legendary chairman and chief executive, Gerald Ronson, on one of his equally legendary regular site tours. "It's a major development programme between two companies who have a similar 'can do' culture," he says. "We've done 10 Morrisons sites, and the figures so far are encouraging. We're doing another batch of 40, but our network has the potential for at least another 50 from a locational and size point of view potentially we could have up to 100 sites under the Morrisons banner by the end of the year. It should give us another £50-70m turnover. It's keeping the team busy! But it's where I believe this industry is going."

Duo with a wealth of retail experience

In 1974 Dermot Dowling had already ignited a passion for petrol retailing when he set up Petrocell Holdings. Forty-two years later and now into his 70s, Dermot no longer handles the day-to-day running of the company but, as chairman, remains an active force within the business. The engine of Petrocell Holdings is now managing director, Alan Spackman; plus financial director Elaine Reed; and Dermot's two sons, John and Pat.

Forging ahead

It's been a busy start to the year for PRA chairman Brian Madderson, as he responds to the many media requests that follow any news relevant to the forecourt retailing sector. In this case, it was the usual flood of calls to appear on national TV and radio to comment on the rising fuel prices.

First-class forecourts

Our round-up of the Forecourt Trader of the Year 2016 winners moves on to the Midlands and Northern England

Making a splash

For the past few years, car washing has been gradually side-lined by the growth of the forecourt convenience retailing business as well as the competition from hand car wash operators.

Raw talent

Joan and Barry Raw make a very talented brother and sister team. Together they have developed a network of four successful forecourt operations which collectively sell 24 million litres of fuel a year.

Cashing in on chips

Walk through the main doors of Syston Service Station and you're faced with a tough choice: turn left into the smart Spar convenience store or right into the ultra modern Mackays fish and chip shop. Luckily for owners James Kemp and Simon Mackay, most customers visit both parts of the business as they complement each other rather nicely. Part of the Carsley Group, the men along with their business partner Charles Masters took over the site back in February 2015. Then it was a Mace store, with the 3,000sq ft space decked out in Mace's corporate blue. They immediately switched to Spar and put in a stud wall, which took the sales space down to 2,000sq ft. They then used the other 1,000sq ft as a stockroom while they considered their options.

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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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