Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
Chip and pin - causing problems for some retailers
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New Year hassle with chip and pin

While the Chip and Pin Programme has hailed the first weekend of using the new technology a success, many in the forecourt sector have encountered problems.
THI UK has launched the first ever machine to wash motorbikes at service stations
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Launch of world's first motorbike wash

THI UK has launched the first machine in the world to wash motorbikes. The patented Motorbike-Wash with water reclaim system – retailing at under £20,000 – is self-contained and washes one motorbike in just a few minutes.

Asda triggers fuel prices

Asda has triggered a price war on forecourts with its announcement of a 3ppl drop in petrol prices, bringing it down to 76.9p – the lowest since April last year.

Forecourts targeted to sell mortgages

A new mortgage services company is giving forecourt retailers the chance to earn money by marketing financial solutions to its customers.

Pensioner injured in drive-off

An 82-year-old filling station owner was rushed to hospital after trying to tackle two vehicles that drove off without paying.

Snax 24 signs P&H in 15m supply deal

Snax 24 has chosen delivered wholesaler Palmer & Harvey McLane to supply its 43 forecourts throughout the UK.



News in brief

THE FORECOURT TRADER BUSINESS DIRECTORY 2005 is out now and packed with more than 2,000 company listings. With contacts for fuel suppliers and distributors to shop equipment and services, this directory has all the information you need at your fingertips. It also includes features on legal and tax issues, as well as a fuel market review. For details call 0800 652 6512.

Hopcrofts Holt service station on the A4260 Oxford to Banbury road

Just north of Oxford at Kidlington on the A4260 is a Sainsbury supermarket service station and just as you enter Banbury is an Esso On the Run site. Both are bright, well focused, busy ‘premier division’ service stations and c-stores. Smack bang in the middle of these two on the crossroads with the B4030 is Hopcrofts Holt Service Station, a joint branded Key Shop/Jet site. A mid ‘first division’ site that I fear may struggle to gain promotion.

Wake up and smell the coffee

The end of the old year and start of the new one is a time for taking stock of where we are, and making plans for where we’d like to be in 12 months time – and making the resolutions that should enable us to get there. This column will humbly offer a few thoughts and suggestions for the petroleum retailing industry in 2005.

A token gesture

Don’t you wonder where they go? Like odd socks, like teaspoons, like the half dozen biros you bought last week, air and water tokens just gradually disappear into thin air, don’t they?

A streamlined scam?

It will be interesting to hear if anybody else out there has had an experience similar to Adrian Moore, who runs Grizebeck Filling Station at Grizebeck in Cumbria. He suspected a scam when he got a phone call from someone purporting to be from an investigation unit at Streamline asking for his merchant number because they had uncovered fraudulent use of a card at his station. A stolen card had apparently been used there the previous day.

Dealing direct

I do hope this isn’t opening a can of worms, but is anyone else having problems getting their money back from Our Price? James Robertson, who runs JR’s Filling Station in Fife, sent back 15 DVDs to Our Price in September and was promised his money (£112.50) back. He has been pursuing the company for the money ever since.

It's all at the local

Winner of the year 2004

Diary of a rebuild

With fuel margins as tight as ever, retailers are looking to other means of generating revenue – and that is often through developing the forecourt shop into a fully-fledged convenience store. But forecourt shops have traditionally been nothing more than a small kiosk so if space allows, a knockdown rebuild has been the answer.

Building a future

The number of forecourt sites in the UK has been consistently decreasing for years now, with numbers currently down to 10,577 (source: Catalist). This compares to around 11,448 sites in 2003, 13,000 sites in 2000 and more than 19,000 in 1991, and while industry insiders think there is still a little way to go until this trend stops, site disposal has certainly slowed down.

Under fire

Tobacco retailers have faced some pretty tough trading conditions over the past few years. The impact of smuggling, reduced margins due to increased taxation, and the constant fear of inadvertently falling foul of the law through underage sales must leave some forecourt operators wondering why they bother with the category.

Buried treasure

Most forecourt retailers would think twice about ignoring a faulty pump or wetstock controls, and underground tank and pipework systems – while they might be out of sight – require the same attention to detail because neglected tanks and pipes could lead to costly clean-up bills.

Istobel jets into UK market

Istobal, the Spanish carwash manufacturer, has taken a controlling interest in Jet Technics in a bid to bring better service to the UK.

SMS marketing made easy with has launched an SMS marketing solution for small and medium-sized businesses.

Forecourt clean-up

Karcher’s new HDS 745 Eco M pressure washer is convenient for operators as it has tanks for detergent, scale inhibitor and fuel that can be filled from outside without having to open the machine cover.

All systems go for VBi

VBi Retail Solutions, supplier of fuel management systems and retail solutions to forecourts, has signed an exclusive deal with County Down-based Forecourt Systems making it the exclusive distributor and agent for VBi technology in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The professionals

Orbit Professional is being joined by Orbit Professional White, a sugar-free pellet chewing gum that aims to reduce tooth stains and includes Bi-White to keep teeth naturally white.

Crunch time for UB

United Biscuits (UB) has ditched its McV brand and is reverting back to the McVitie’s name with an £8m relaunch campaign. The new brand identity is launched this month and UB reckons it will help both simplify the biscuit fixture and deliver better on-shelf impact.

Mobil unveils ESP

ExxonMobil has unveiled its new Emission System Protection (ESP) engine oil technology. Mobil 1 (ESP Formula 5W-30) has been expertly engineered to help prolong the life of emission reduction systems while maintaining the previous high performance benefits of Mobil 1.

Heads up for Walkers crisps

Walkers Potato Heads are new crinkly crunchy crisps cooked in high oleic sunflower oil which means they have 70% less saturated fat than standard Walkers crisps. They also contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.

Bigger and better

Glendale Frozen Foods has relaunched its take-home doner kebabs with bigger portion sizes, improved recipe and brighter packaging.

A cracking start

It’s early January and that means just one thing in the confectionery world – the annual return of Cadbury Creme Eggs.

Getting to grips

Britvic is investing £30m in its Robinsons squash brand. There are new bottle designs for High Juice and Barley Water plus a new High Juice variety – blood orange. The bottles now feature a dual grip function making it easier to get hold of them.

Essential stock for energy boost

Jacob’s has launched Essentials, a range of healthy but tasty crackers in four varieties.

It's a Classic lunch

Quaker is adding two new flavours to its Snack-a-Jacks range – roast chicken and prawn cocktail. These two new varieties will join salt & vinegar as part of a new Classic range of Snack-a-Jacks.

Leader of the packs

The UK’s number one cigarette brand, Lambert & Butler, is currently available in special edition celebration packs designed to create better stand-out on shelf.

Bottle of indulgence

Chocomel is a new indulgent chocolate drink for consuming on the go. It comes in 300ml bottles and retails for around 75p.

Five a day made easy

New Fruit Dippers from Organix have been launched as an easy way to add a portion of fruit to children’s lunchboxes. Dippers comprise 100% fruit puree and dipping biscuits. Rrp is £1.99 for a pack of three.

Mo'gas: An irreverent view from the network

ON THE FACE OF IT we only have ourselves to blame. It’s not as if we hadn’t been warned – this was no last-minute surprise. All credit to BP for being the only oiler (as far as I am aware – aggrieved parties please send your emails to Merril!) to have approval ready for the off. The company rolled out its Dione terminals last Christmas, and although initially they caused some grief, at least BP retailers will only have the problem of plonker customers to deal with. So the fact that hardly any of us are ready for chip and pin on January 1 must obviously be our fault, mustn’t it? That’s certainly the line the banks will probably take, but it is a little disingenuous to say the least.

Fuel prices: January 2005

Data supplied by Catalist Ltd
  • Weekly
  • Weekly
  • Daily
Weekly retail fuel prices: 17 June 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands132.8782.90140.07128.54
North East130.88139.09127.62
North West132.1562.90139.28127.89
Northern Ireland129.57133.57126.60
South East133.4265.90141.12129.16
South West132.7160.90139.02128.34
West Midlands132.55141.25128.31
Yorkshire & Humber131.61140.87127.82

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