Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
Solicitor Robert Botkai
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Traders at risk with new licensing laws

Petrol retailers could unknowingly break the law by selling hot food throughout the night if they fail to fork out £775 for a premises licence under the new licensing regime.

Esso licensee case dismissed on appeal

The lengthy fight by a group of former Esso licensees who felt they had been seriously wronged by the oil major, finally ground to a halt last month when the appeal against an earlier judgement in Esso’s favour was dismissed.

Site count falls again

Nearly 300 forecourts have closed in the past six months, according to the latest figures from Catalist UK, the service station data specialist. In our last Fuel Market Review (see June issue) there were 10,867 UK sites.

Forecourt shows set to be the biggest yet

Europe’s premier show for the forecourt and fuel equipment industry is back, and is bigger and better than before, according to the organisers, William Reed Events.

Jailed for robbing garage

A man convicted of threatening an Essex filling station cashier with a kitchen knife during a robbery has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Chelmsford Crown Court.

BOSS shows how to cut crime by 50%

Details of how forecourt crime can be reduced by between 35% and 50% were unveiled to more than 200 delegates representing 12 UK police forces, major oil companies and petrol retailers at a Fighting Forecourt Crime seminar in Birmingham.

Torex targets growth

Retail solutions provider Torex Retail (formerly known as Arciris) has appointed founder member and former sales director Billy Tank as managing director of its Petroleum & Convenience UK division to strengthen its team

ACS fights for fairer post office contracts

The Association of Convenience Stores has lodged a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading in its battle for fairer contacts between the Post Office Ltd and subpostmasters.
Susie Hawkins
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Susie's coup

Susie Hawkins hit the headlines last month when news travelled back from the NACS Convention in Las Vegas that she had fought off stiff competition from independent retailers in America and Australia to win the convenience store industry’s Global Scholarship. Women are a rare breed in the forecourt industry so who is the woman behind such an achievement?

News in brief

FORECOURT TRADER PUBLISHER WILLIAM REED PUBLISHING, has scooped a major award in the UK Family Business Honours Programme. The company, which publishes top titles such as The Grocer and Convenience Store, won the Business Success Category. The competition is organised by private bank JP Morgan and supported by the London Business School and the Institute for Family Business, and is judged by an independent committee on areas including financial growth, innovation, good governance, sound business process and staff development.

Shell Abridge on the A113 London Road Abridge, Essex

GENERAL APPEARANCE: This joint-branded Shell Mace Express site is impressive. It stands a little above the road and the Shell branding screams out at motorists and many appear to stop to refuel and to use the shop. To one side of the forecourt is an accident repair/MOT/second-hand car sales centre and to the rear of the shop, a large commercial yard. There is limited parking and during my visit vehicles seemed to be abandoned here, there and everywhere.

Are you ready for Christmas?

We know that as this issue drops through your letterbox you’re stressed about all of those orders and deliveries to ensure that you can keep your customers happy right up to Christmas. However we really do suggest that perhaps it won’t hurt if you find a quiet spot – maybe at the back of the storeroom – make yourself a nice cup of tea, and sit down for half an hour to catch up, and check-off those things that might get overlooked in the

All pull together

There’s never been more attention paid to low-level crime (litter, graffiti, drive-offs as opposed to shotgun-up-your-nostrils) by the authorities. The government has its anti-social behaviour orders and most communities have some form of crimewatch. But most impressive of all is Kent Police. I’ve reported on the success of their Forecourt Watch scheme before which has now been widened to the point that Kent Police have a protocol in place for all the forecourts on their patch.

Stamp duty

Another complaint about the Royal Mail. As I’ve reported previously in this column, the margin on first class stamps may have gone up to 7%, but the reduction on second class stamps to 3% has really put some of you off.

Wrong data

Some information I passed on in the last issue about Data Protection wasn’t quite the full ticket. I pointed out a refinement to the Data Protection Act 1998 which excuses retailers from registering if they have static cameras which don’t particularly target anyone.

At your service

Specialist retail research agency ESA has been working closely with Total UK for seven years, setting up and running a tailored mystery-shopping programme. The programme has enabled Total to monitor, assess and improve customer service and its forecourt facilities to ensure the overall service offered exceeds that of its competitors and encourages customer loyalty. Total had realised that while it had a strong network of sites in terms of store size and location, it had no real coherent understanding of what level of service was on offer to the customer.
Denis Lawrence - named the site The Halt last christmas to reinforce the message to motorists to stop and enjoy the facilities, which include c-store, cafe and gardens
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Community spirits

Rural winner of the year 2004

Scrubbing up

Car washing offers the most impressive margins on the forecourt, but with retailers placing a greater focus on their shops, equipment is being neglected by many operators, according to UK car wash suppliers.

Power trip

Batteries, cameras and films may not be a forecourt trader’s bread and butter but they do offer the chance to make a tidy extra profit, particularly over the Christmas period.

Hot ticket

If you go down to your local cinema today you’re in for a big surprise – especially if you haven’t been there for some time. That’s because cinemas are buzzing. They’ve never been so popular – each week some 3.5 million people go to see a film and that’s the highest audience number since 1954.

Centenary choccie

A multi-million pound birthday campaign is being planned for 2005 to celebrate 100 years of Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM). The brand is worth more than £320m, with retail sales currently increasing 24% year on year.

Mastering Easter

Masterfoods plans to reinvigorate the filled egg category at Easter – as well as generate a “huge saes opportunity for the convenience sector” – with the launch of two new products from top confectionery brands Mars and Galaxy.

Thierry adds talent

Arsenal and France player Thierry Henry is to further strengthen the line-up of international footballing talent linked with Pepsi.

Warburtons offers half as much

Warburtons has launched two half-loaves as well as relaunching one existing variant in the 400g size.

New seasons heralds ultra low fat snack

Quaker Snacks has introduced a new crispbread snack backed by a £10m marketing campaign.

Meaty investment

Cooked meats brand Bernard Matthews has been relaunched with a new corporate look, new product range and the biggest investment in the brand since the 1980s.

Sudafed aims to broaden appeal

Non-Drowsy Sudafed is back on TV again this winter with a £3m campaign and a new strapline – ‘Unblock your nose, unlock your senses’ – which is expected to broaden the brand’s appeal to a wider target audience, encouraging uptake and trial.

Kash in with Kitkat

Nestlé Rowntree is launching its biggest ever marketing campaign for KitKat this month.

Müller makeover

Müllerlight is planning a brand makeover with a new look and new products. The brand is introducing two flavours – apple pie and lemon cheesecake to meet a consumer need for more indulgent ‘healthy’ yogurts. They will be available in-store from January 1, as will the new packaging across the range.

Chip & pin for pay at pump

Secure Retail has introduced a new chip and pin terminal for unattended point of sale applications such as kiosks and petrol pumps.

Cut queue growth

The advent of chip and pin might necessitate retailers to double the capacity of their connections if they don’t want to keep customers waiting.

Sainsbury picks Dione

Sainsbury is using a Dione solution for chip and pin implementation across its 550-store estate. As such, the Dione Xpress ‘Swipe & Park’ card readers and Xtreme pin pads are being installed at over 15,000 points of sale including self-checking lanes and petrol forecourts.

Mo'gas: An irreverent view from the network

SO IS YOUR CIRCLE VIRTUOUS OR VICIOUS? The virtuous circle is where you cut your prices and get more customers. On the back of the extra business you’re doing you screw your suppliers to reduce their prices, you reduce your prices and get even more customers and then go back to your suppliers again etc etc. The vicious circle is when your costs go up so you raise your prices. Because you’ve raised your prices you get fewer customers so you have to raise your prices again in order to cover your costs, so you get even fewer customers… Now, according to all the experts, if you’re a retailer and your circle isn’t virtuous you’re a dead duck, but are they right?

Fuel prices: December 2004

Data supplied by Catalist Ltd
  • Weekly
  • Weekly
  • Daily
Weekly retail fuel prices: 10 June 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East Midlands134.59140.57129.69
North East133.19142.40129.15
North West134.1363.90139.73129.13
Northern Ireland131.34135.32128.05
South East135.2562.40141.74130.52
South West134.5167.90140.57129.57
West Midlands134.34140.64129.70
Yorkshire & Humber133.72140.40129.24

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