Most days I am normally up and around very early, partly because one of our three children is disabled and needs a bit of extra help when he first wakes up. When it comes to work, my first job is checking the bank balance, then fuel prices and emails, before getting on with the rest of the day. In truth though, my iPhone is always with me and I therefore end up replying to emails whatever time they come through, and almost always on holiday and before going to bed! I think many people who use iPhones and Blackberrys nowadays must find that it’s very difficult to avoid doing this. Primarily that’s because these gadgets are also your phone and you rarely switch them off!
On Mondays I am most interested to receive the fuel, store and car wash sales for the previous seven days, and to understand any reasons for the figures being up or down, both week-on-week and year-on-year. Even now, having opened over 300 stores over the past 20 years, it is still a thrill to get a store open and see how the sales perform and how the new business takes shape.
My background is in convenience retailing. A little over 20 years ago, I was approached by a small c-store chain called One Stop, to spearhead its acquisition programme. The company had around 50 stores at the time, but had aspirations to grow to five times that size. Over the course of the next 10 years, we achieved just that, reaching 250 stores by the millennium. The chain was subsequently sold to Tesco, so I guess the acquisition strategy was proved right in terms of the type of locations in which we opened.
This was a very interesting time within the retail industry, with other convenience store groups such as M&W, Alldays and Dillons also busy acquiring sites to expand their retail chains. Interestingly, none of these groups were considering forecourts as potential locations at that time.
How times have changed, and how many more forecourts may still be in existence if these operators had been targeting fuel sites for acquisition?
My company, Peregrine Retail Ltd, now operates in five locations in southern England from Bridgwater in the West, to Ringwood in the East, and north as far as Didcot in Oxfordshire. Next year should also see two further forecourt redevelopments along both the M5 and M4 corridors.
Back to my day, and most days, I try and get home in time to cook dinner for the family. It was only after I bought my first house when I was 19, that I learnt to cook properly, and the first dish I tackled was chicken curry. My mother was born in India and lived there until she was 18.
I had seen her cook curry many times and although throughout my teens I was never that keen, it was the only thing I knew I could cook. I have never looked back and now cooking is one of my greatest pleasures.
I love watching sport, with football, rubgy and F1 all firm favourites for weekend veiwing.
My eight-year-old son Tom is a big F1 fan and, following a visit to Silverstone in 2010 for the Friday practice day, we were lucky enough to get paddock passes and even luckier to grab a photo opportunity with Tom’s hero Jenson Button. There is now a rather large framed picture of this on his bedroom wall.
Southampton FC is also a passion. Although it has been quite a testing time in recent years, being promoted last season back into the Championship, and topping the table as I write this, the prospect of returning to the premiership is looking like a real possibility.
To keep fit I play badminton. For anyone who believes badminton to be a nice easy game, they should try it some time. It’s the fastest racquet sport in the world and you run the equivalant of three miles in a single match!
I think with all the stresses and strains of business nowadays you really do need to find a way of winding down, whether that’s running round a court, or enjoying that first glass of wine, always after 7pm, of course!
Company: Peregrine Retail Ltd
Job title: Managing director
Career history: Developed several convenience retail groups, including One Stop, Balfour and Smile. Now developing petrol forecourts, independently. Peregrine currently has five sites in southern England from Bridgwater in the west, to Ringwood in the east, and north as far as Didcot.
Greatest achievement: Having a loving family.
Tips for business success: Persuasion and persistence.
Most likely to say: "What did we take last week?"
Least likely to say: "A nice mild Korma for me."
Other interests: Badminton, rugby, football, F1, cars, cooking and good wine.