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product news: Spar supports charity with festive sandwiches

Spar UK is raising funds for Marie Curie this Christmas, with the launch of a limited edition festive sandwich range.

Elizabeth Shaw launches chocolates with a twist

Elizabeth Shaw is launching Twists, described as an indulgent selection of individually wrapped hazelnut treats enrobed in milk chocolate and praline, topped with crisp rice and coated in milk chocolate. They come in a box that opens and closes with one big twist. Elizabeth Shaw managing director, Karen Crawford, said the company had created a beautiful deluxe box perfect for sharing at home but also for giving as a gift.

Hi-Spirits offers new big-brand gift range

Hi-Spirits has a new range of gift packs featuring Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Fireball and the King of Soho Gin. Rrps range from £14 to £34.

Country Choice in a swirl for festive season

Newcomers to Country Choice's Christmas line-up include a Chocolate Orange pastry swirl and a Panettone flavour swirl. The first is an orange-flavour butter pastry base filled with crème pâtissière and chocolate chips, sprinkled with a golden sugar topping. The latter is a butter pastry swirl filled with crème pâtissière, sultanas and candied orange peel. Both have a two-day shelf life when wrapped.

Salted Caramel joins the KP caddies range for Christmas

KP Snacks has added a new Salted Caramel variant to its range of best-selling nut caddies. KP is the leading nuts brand in the UK with a 17.3% share of the market, valued at £56m. Nearly 40% of KP nut sales take place in the run up to Christmas and despite more than half (53%) of sales being made in the convenience sector, there remains a massive opportunity in the channel with an estimated £6m up for grabs (Nielsen data).

Kronenbourg gets wrapped up for Christmas

Following the success of the 2016 Cantona Limited Edition packaging, which resulted in a value sales uplift of 25%, Kronenbourg 1664 will wrap a festive Christmas scarf around its 660ml bottles, helping to increase stand out on shelf and encourage consumers to get into the Christmas spirit.

Get behind the layers with new Ferrero experience

Ferrero Rocher is back on TV with a new £3.5m campaign which will run through to the end of December.

Classic favourites return to Premier festive range

Premier Foods is launching new Cadbury Roses Cake Bars ahead of the festive season, with classic favourites and best sellers also returning from Cadbury Cakes and Mr Kipling. Mr Kipling will see a packaging refresh across its range, while Iced Topped Mince Pies will now also be available in a handy twin pack.

Christmas range proven to deliver huge sales

Urban Eat's Christmas range includes Turkey Feast and Turkey, Bacon & Stuffing sandwiches, a Piggies Under Blankets sub roll and a Brie & Cranberry Wrap, all in festive-themed packaging. The line-up was highly popular last Christmas with more than 10,000 Turkey Feast sandwiches and 9,000 Turkey, Bacon & Stuffing sandwiches sold during the peak trading week.

Jenny Wren: quality chocs for less than £10

Kentish chocolate firm Jenny Wren has introduced its first-ever Christmas box for what it calls the 'neglected' sub-£10 gifting category.

Pastries galore from Cuisine de France

Aryzta's Christmas line-up includes Cuisine de France branded Cranberry Torsades (90g, rrp £1) and Brandy Mince Puffs (80g, rrp £1.25), along with festive sausage rolls (140g, rrp £1.25) and festive slices (turkey, pork sausage, bacon & cranberry in gravy, 160g, rrp £1.50).

Pladis wishes: Merry Biscuits Everyone

Pladis has unveiled plans for its biggest- ever Christmas brand campaign. It's the first time well-loved brands under the McVitie's, Jacob's and Carr's master brands will come together under the campaign banner 'Merry Biscuits everyone'.

product news: Jenny Wren introduces sub-£10 Christmas Box

Jenny Wren, the Kentish chocolate firm, has introduced its first Christmas box for what it calls the “neglected” sub-£10 gifting category.

product news: McVitie's unveils Halloween cakes range

McVitie’s has launched a cakes range, with new-look Halloween inspired packaging and content full of expected and unexpected ingredients to cater for Trick or Treaters, lunchboxes or party foods.

product news: Diageo highlights independent alcohol opportunity this Christmas

With 28% of annual off trade alcohol sales taking place over the festive period, Diageo has extended its My Store Matters advice to help retailers tap into the sales opportunity.

product news: Kerry Group majors on Halloween

Kerry Group's Mattessons Fridge Raiders brand has joined with Thorpe Park Resort to give shoppers the chance to win a short break at the theme park during its Fright Nights event.

The spirits of Christmas

Most people enjoy a tipple at Christmas, with many keen to have a range of booze on offer to impress their friends and family, which is why volume sales of spirits double over the Christmas period increasing from 3.4% to 7.2% (Nielsen).

Sales that creep up on you

It doesn't seem that long ago that the big autumn event was Bonfire Night and Halloween was some young pretender imported from the States. However, that young pretender has certainly caught the imagination of youngsters over here, so much so that it rakes in hundreds of millions of pounds worth of sales. Pumpkins, dressing-up costumes and props, drinks and snacks for parties and bucket loads of confectionery for trick-or-treaters fly out the doors in the run up to All Hallows Eve aka Halloween on October 31. This year that's on a Tuesday but, as it takes place within many kids' half-term holiday, it looks set to be as popular as ever.

product news: Nestlé Confectionery reveals festive plans

Nestlé Confectionery has unveiled its Christmas offering for 2017. Leading its range are the Smarties Little Choc Penguin (a chocolate shell with mini Smarties inside) and the white chocolate Milkybar Polar Bear Cub (both RRP 65p). Each features four new designs on its foil packaging, giving them added personality and enabling shoppers to choose their favourite.

product news: Pringles brings back Christmas variants

Pringles is bringing back its range of Christmas flavours in a new gift wrap designed can.

product news: Fanta reveals Halloween plans

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is planning its biggest Halloween campaign from Fanta, including exclusively designed packaging, smaller 150ml can multipacks and an advertising and experiential marketing campaign.

product news: Tangerine reveals its Halloween line-up

Tangerine Confectionery has unveiled details of its Halloween offering.

Money spinners

Who knew that so many people wanted a car boot organiser or a large pet blanket or a car dash cam? Even though that's a bit of a rhetorical question, there is an answer and that is 'the pump-top promotion companies'. That's because these businesses have their fingers on the pulse of today's consumers' wants and needs. They're on the look out for the latest thing. Think Fidget Spinners whoever knew we needed such things? The answer to that is Asif Ayub, managing director at FastTrak, who says: "We introduced Fidget Spinners in April and they are our best seller this year; they've even eclipsed Loom Bands as a trend. We are still selling them and they are a steady seller but we are bringing out an icon version to coincide with the Emoji movie release and doing metal spinners throughout the summer."

product news: Wrigley extends Halloween range

This August, Wrigley is extending its seasonal range to five Halloween SKUs.

product news: Mondelez previews Christmas offer

This year Mondelez International has bigger plans than ever for Christmas with the return of the Milk Tray Man, a £10m spend for its Cadvent campaign, NPD in both chocolate and candy, and for the first time, it will offer Cadbury biscuits within its portfolio.

Homing in

For Hickson's Forecourt in Lincoln, sports events such as big football matches bring extra sales from people buying beer and snacks to consume while they watch the game at home. Assistant manager Alex Flodman says crates of beer containing 10 or 15 cans as well as sharing bags of crisps go down well with armchair fans.

Moveable feast

Every year, people ask 'When is Easter this year?", because it's never on the same weekend. In 2017, Easter Sunday falls on April 16, which is some three weeks later than this year. It's defined by the moon, with Easter being the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon on or after the spring equinox on March 21. This is why Easter Sunday can fall any time between March 22 and April 25. So now you know. It might not seem important but, according to Mintel research, the timing of Easter reflects spending and it's a case of the later the better. Spending on Easter products increased just 4% in 2016, rising from £530m to an estimated £550m. But Mintel anticipates stronger growth for gift sales in 2017 thanks to the event falling in mid April.

Deck the shelves

The media may be full of messages encouraging us to cut down on sugar but you can bet your life that most households will be tucking into their favourite tin of twistwrap chocolates this Christmas. At this time of year, go into any grocery multiple and you'll likely have to fight your way past the stacks of chocolates on sale for a fiver. It doesn't seem to matter how many they stock, they always seem to sell out. People buy them for Christmas but oftentimes eat them well before then, then have to buy more and may come to you looking for some.

Scare and share

Anyone shopping in Spar Battlefield's store in Shrewsbury on Monday October 31, is in for a shock as they're likely to be served by a ghost or a ghoul. That's because you'll find manager Marcus Burnley-Lowe and his staff dressed up in Halloween-themed costumes. They're keen to embrace anything that adds a bit of excitement in-store and, of course, Halloween lends itself well to in-store theatre. Last year, because Halloween fell on a Saturday, they spread the theme across the weekend. But this year, with Halloween on a Monday, it's likely they'll just dress up on that day. Last year Marcus dressed up as Star Wars' character Jango Fett; this year who knows what treat he'll have in-store for his customers?

Sunny sellers

Summer brings with it lots of sales opportunities from ice creams and ice-cold soft drinks, to sunglasses and barbecue briquettes. The latter two items can often be sourced from your car care supplier. Indeed Convenience Distribution Group (CDG) is currently running a promotion on Object Eyewear sunglasses. You can currently get 24 pairs of sunglasses for just £60 (which works out at £2.50 a pair) and a free six-peg display stand. The suggested selling price for the sunglasses is £4.99, so you make a very decent margin on them plus they are available on sale or return terms so if, for any reason, you don't sell them they will be uplifted and credited to your account in October.

Net more profits

The general media may be full of stories about the forthcoming EU in/out referendum, but the sports pages will be full of articles about another EU showdown the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament.

Merry making

Christmas truly is the season to be jolly because, according to Nielsen, it is the number one season that shoppers buy extra products for. And confectionery is the number one category specifically bought in convenience stores for Christmas.

Ghoulish gains

This year Halloween falls on a Saturday (October 31), which can mean only one thing that it's likely to be a bigger event than ever. You can expect families up and down the country to be carving pumpkins, going trick-or-treating and generally having a ghoulishly good time.

Tackle this

Rugby union's World Cup takes place through September and October with the added bonus for the nation's retailers of being co-hosted by England and Wales. Games will be played in 13 towns and cities with favourable live TV times, providing a double whammy of traffic lucky ticket holders on their way to and from games and armchair fans stocking for a big night, or in many cases, day in.

Bring on spring

With all your Christmas stock, staff and rotas sorted (hopefully), it's time to look ahead to the spring occasions Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Easter. According to Mintel's Seasonal Shopping report from August, 68% of consumers spend money on Easter products and services; 64% spend on Mother's Day items; and 55% spend on stuff for Valentine's Day.

Make sure you score

You can expect a mad rush in your store on the night of Saturday June 14, as footie fans stock up in time for 11pm, and the kick-off of England's first game in the FIFA World Cup 2014. As part of Group D, they will be taking on Italy in Manaus.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 20 November 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East123.5862.15130.21121.10
East Midlands123.21131.97120.77
London123.5556.90131.47121.21
North East122.7764.90132.16120.46
North West123.1057.80131.29120.64
Northern Ireland121.8564.20125.57120.27
Scotland123.3352.20129.79120.83
South East123.79131.06121.50
South West123.42130.49121.01
Wales123.15129.94120.50
West Midlands122.8761.90132.62120.73
Yorkshire & Humber122.9956.90131.53120.82

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