Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community
September
Chris Hunt - spearheading campaign to cut card costs
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UKPIA leads call for card cost cuts

A campaign to reduce the impact of credit card Merchant Service Charges on the downstream oil industry is being spearheaded by the UK Petroleum Industry Association.
Esso's Timo Halonen (left) with Spar's Steve Blackmore
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Spar is tops at Esso

Spar has been recommended as the symbol group supplier of choice for independent Esso dealers.

Calor warns on takeaway LPG

Calor, the UK’s largest supplier of LPG, is advising all stockists that supply autogas not to refill user-owned, portable LPG cylinders. The move follows advice from the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (LPGA) against refilling user-owned, portable LPG cylinders. The LPGA said safe filling of LPG cylinders required appropriate expertise and/or equipment. “Staff at autogas filling points cannot fulfill statutory obligations as they have neither. Were there to be any accident the site operator could be liable to prosecution.” The advice does not affect tanks permanently attached, such as to a camper van.

City centre site is axed

The manager of Exeter’s last city-centre petrol station has said he is “gutted” after Texaco decided to sell off his site last month.

Gulf grows network with more sites

Two more retailers have signed up to Gulf, citing the oil company’s “logical and sensible” approach as the catalyst for change.

ACS calls for support in bid for regulation

The Association of Convenience Stores has called for independent retailers to sign up to membership in a bid to create a stronger voice in the battle for fair regulation in the grocery market.
ACS's James Lowman said planning is at a critical stage
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ACS campaign tackles planning

Retailers across more than 40 constituencies are poised to kick-start the first Association of Convenience Stores ‘Campaign Champions’ campaign by lobbying their local MP on the issue of planning.

Murco opens 50th site with Costcutter

Murco and Costcutter have reached a significant milestone with the opening of their latest forecourt store – in Wallasey Village, Liverpool – the partnership’s 50th and its first venture in the North West of England.

News in brief

BRIAN DONALDSON has been appointed managing director of Maxol Direct, while retaining his current role as general manager for marketing and retail of the Maxol Group.In his new role, Brian will assume full responsibility for the development of Maxol’s wholly owned home heat distribution business in Northern Ireland as well as continuing to have responsibility for the group’s extensive retail network in Ireland, including all marketing , sponsorship and PR activities.

Coming of age

A trip to the petrol station has now joined meeting friends, watching a movie and going to the gym as a leisure pastime, according to research from BP Connect and Future Foundation, conducted to mark the 21st anniversary of convenience shopping on UK forecourts.

BP Connect and Esso 'On the run' both on A3 in Surrey

GENERAL APPEARANCE: After leaving Guildford and travelling north on the very busy A3, I visited a BP Connect that – as it happens – is the last service station before the junction with the M25. Continuing my journey towards London on the A3 I thought it would be interesting to immediately compare and contrast this established site with the first service station after the M25, the comparatively new Esso On the Run format being trialled. Although only 15 miles separates the two sites, what I found was that in many and varied ways they are chalk and cheese.

Running out of steam

We have become used to seeing figures from the Database that tell us shop sales on service stations have been growing consistently for the past few years; not just consistently but sometimes quite spectacularly – at least compared to the rather dismal results which many big High Street retailers have been reporting. It’s possible to argue for ages about the exact reasons why the forecourt sector has (until now, at least) bucked the retail trend. Some suggest that as places for ‘distress purchases’ rather than ‘shopping’, forecourts really can’t be compared to ‘destination retailers’. Others point out that many independent dealers in the forecourt sector have been extremely active investing in regular shop upgrades and expansion over the years whereas the larger chains tend to have less frequent (albeit more elaborate and expensive) capital investment. While many factors have doubtless contributed to the performance, another significant reason may simply be that site numbers have been dropping whereas the number of drivers hasn’t. One reason that rarely gets a mention, is that it’s difficult to think of any other retail sector with harder-working or more entrepreneurial operators than the independent petrol retailer.

Running out of steam

We have become used to seeing figures from the Database that tell us shop sales on service stations have been growing consistently for the past few years; not just consistently but sometimes quite spectacularly – at least compared to the rather dismal results which many big High Street retailers have been reporting. It’s possible to argue for ages about the exact reasons why the forecourt sector has (until now, at least) bucked the retail trend. Some suggest that as places for ‘distress purchases’ rather than ‘shopping’, forecourts really can’t be compared to ‘destination retailers’. Others point out that many independent dealers in the forecourt sector have been extremely active investing in regular shop upgrades and expansion over the years whereas the larger chains tend to have less frequent (albeit more elaborate and expensive) capital investment. While many factors have doubtless contributed to the performance, another significant reason may simply be that site numbers have been dropping whereas the number of drivers hasn’t. One reason that rarely gets a mention, is that it’s difficult to think of any other retail sector with harder-working or more entrepreneurial operators than the independent petrol retailer.

Code cracking

Ever wondered what the various phone codes represent and whether you are being ripped off or not?

Don't disable your business

The deadline for offering a user-friendly environment becomes official on October 1 when Part 3 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 comes into play.
John Ryeland, director, retail division (left) and Brian Maddersonm managing director of George Hammond plc, based next door to Dover
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Shop to shore

“There’s something really strange going on,” muses Brian Madderson, managing director of Dover-based George Hammond plc, from his office overlooking the harbour. And he’s not just talking about the weather either. He is extremely curious as to why the oil companies don’t seem keen to put their forecourt fuel prices up to reflect the rising world prices.

Cocoa Nuts!

Confectionery sales are worth £4.88bn in the UK (AC Nielsen Scantrack Impulse), with retail sales having grown by £800m in 2003. Chocolate confectionery sales account for £3.36bn of this and increased by 2.5% in 2003, according to Cadbury Trebor Bassett’s Confectionery Report 2003. This gain was achieved despite falling sales during last year’s hot summer as sales shot up in the September to December period. With similar weather this year, retailers should pull out all the stops to maximise sales in the autumn period.

Polish up your act

If you’re a forecourt store and you don’t offer the basics in car care then you could be missing out. Because if Mr Jones goes to wash his car on a Sunday morning and finds his sponge has fallen apart, his local forecourt is going to be the most convenient place to get a replacement. Likewise motorists wanting screen wash will drop into the forecourt first. That said, you don’t need to go over the top. Shelf space in the average forecourt store doesn’t allow for a huge range so it’s best to stick to basics.

A refreshing change

The soft drinks category should be high on every forecourt retailer’s priority list – after all, it’s worth a whopping £5.1bn in total with forecourts claiming £242m of that – and is growing at a rate of 10% (AC Nielsen MAT April 04). What’s more, the sector’s full of big-brand names and multi-million pound ad campaigns, which makes the job of selling them a whole lot easier.

Cripsy roast range

Following the success of Walkers’ Great British Flavours and Great British Takeaways ranges, the snacks company has launched a range inspired by the British roast dinner.

Juicy Fruit pellets

The Wrigley Company has extended its Juicy Fruit range with the launch of Juicy Fruit Strappleberry, which combines the tastes of strawberries, pears and apple flavours in a new pellet format.

Heinz relaunches soups

Heinz is relaunching its Classics and Big Soup ranges of soup, as well as introducing a new line of contemporary recipes.

Del Monte's new movers

Del Monte is revamping its Just Juice brand with new-look 500ml PET bottles and a revised range.

McV calls for snackers to dunk Britain

United Biscuits UK (UBUK) is driving consumer awareness of its core McVitie’s biscuit brand with its biggest-ever event, which invites snackers to vote for their favourite dunking biscuit.

Aunt Bessie's hot stuff

Aunt Bessie’s has introduced five ready meals into the frozen food market, following the successful launch of Aunt Bessie’s Cottage Pie.

Clean up with Armor All wipes

In response to the growing interest in orange cleaning products, Armor All has launched Orange Cleaning Wipes.

Pot Noodle adds mini

Pot Noodle has unveiled a Mini Pots range for consumers with smaller appetites.

Doorway to DDA needs

As compliance with the new Disability Discrimination Act dawns, Horton Automatics is recommending retailers take a look at its range of swing and sliding doors.

Chip and pin in seven days

Card payment technology company Commidea has introduced a chip and pin solution that requires no bank testing and can be set up alongside any pos system in less than seven days.

Money-making image

A new television advertising concept is being rolled out on garages in Scotland by Plato Systems, giving retailers the opportunity of an added source of income. The package consists of a 40-inch LCD display screen – on which a series of advertisements is played – mounted externally on the forecourt in an area viewable from all pump locations. Each site owner is paid £2,000 a year, plus all electricity costs.

Mo'gas: An irreverent view from the network

SO THE BIG QUESTION IS, will you or won’t you? Support the appeal from the PRA for a legal fees fighting fund to take on the issue of hot product, that is. Now unless you are a very lucky bunny, and I’m happy to say there are a few out there who still receive deliveries of cooled-down fuel, you know your delivery shrinkages are costing you a fortune. And even if you receive some sort of allowance from your supplier you know that it’s a pittance and totally at their whim. And it hasn’t increased as the price of fuel has rocketed. And your losses are getting higher with each new introduction of higher specification, more eco-friendly, grade. So the answer is pretty obviously ‘yes’ isn’t it?

Fuel prices September 2004

Data supplied by Catalist Ltd

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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

Most read

As many forecourt operators continue their quest for expansion - driving up forecourt prices - could you be tempted to sell your business?