THis year’s events will run from Sunday April 6 to Wednesday April 9 and there’ll be plenty to get your teeth into, including the best company exhibits, the latest product and industry news, top expert business advice and unique networking opportunities.

The Car Wash Campaign Group (CWCG) will be at the show as part of an open forum on the main issues surrounding the forecourt car wash sector. A panel of representatives from the group will provide an update on how the group’s battle is going against unscrupulous hand car wash operators, who often don’t abide by environmental laws for disposal of their waste water and chemicals. Part of the campaign is to inform the public and government about the environmental benefits of a forecourt car wash machine as opposed to hand car washes. If you’re a retailer or supplier in the car wash sector it would definitely be worth attending the meeting, which takes place on Monday April 7 at 11am on the Information for Independent Retailers stand B39/B41. (See next page).

Environmental issues will no doubt be a major talking point at the show and exhibitors will be on hand to discuss them and tell you what they are doing to tackle them.

Meanwhile, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) will be hosting an interactive panel discussion entitled ’How to be a Responsible Retailer’, due to take place at midday on Sunday. This will be your chance to ask the experts how to deal with this issue, and it will cover topics that have recently been in the news such as supplying shoppers with free plastic bags. The panel will include key ACS speakers, retailers and suppliers.

With about 70 companies exhibiting at IFFE this year, you’ll find every area of the forecourt industry covered. And as the 2007 show was the busiest IFFE in a decade, we’re expecting the 2008 event to be one to remember.

When it comes to oil companies, Harvest Energy, Murco and Pace are all exhibiting, while other big names who will be there from across the forecourt industry include Air Serv, David Franklin, Dresser Wayne, Gilbarco Veeder-Root, HTEC, Indigo Retail, Karcher, the Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA), Tokheim UK, Subway and Torex Retail.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out the huge variety of workshops, panels and presentations in the new area called Information for Independent Retailers. Straddling both IFFE and CRS, this will offer independents expert advice from industry specialists.

Events taking place in this area of the show include the British Polish Chamber of Commerce which kicks off on the Sunday at 11am with a talk about how to understand the demographics of your catchment area, including how to sell to certain ethnic groups (this will be repeated on Tuesday).

The Daily Mail is also on board this year, with Katrina Elliott, trade marketing manager for independents, hosting a panel session later that day entitled ’Driving footfall with newspapers and magazines’.

In fact, it’s well worth getting up to the show for the first day because the Sunday afternoon will be packed with the following valuable panel sessions from top names in the industry:

? Threshers - a look at licences and under-age sales

? Gallaher - tobacco market issues in the UK

? Barclaycard - the future of convenience payment.

Don’t worry if you miss the sessions as many are repeated during the show. Other features at the event include the ACS looking at how to increase sales by working with the local community. There is also the Survive and Thrive forum - your chance to meet the C-Store Champions and the UK’s leading independent retailers and suppliers. This will be chaired by Convenience Store editor David Rees.

And don’t forget about the IFFE Networking Lounge and the chance to make new contacts for your business - or refresh old ones! There are other networking lounges too including the Gallaher lounge in association with Multiple Buyer & Retailer magazine where Gallaher staff will be on hand to discuss the tobacco category. Then there’s the Nestlé ’1st Choice for Excellence’ lounge where you can see the new KitKat Senses countline.

Meanwhile big names signed up for CRS 2008 include Birds Eye, British American Tobacco, Coca-Cola, Country Choice (which will be using the event to relaunch its entire bread range and introduce its new marketing concept), Gallaher, GlaxoSmithKline, Imperial Tobacco, Musgrave Retail Partners, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Spar (UK), Tchibo coffee and Unilever.

In addition, for the first time ever, Palmer and Harvey is exhibiting at CRS. The leading wholesale distributor is using the show as a platform to recruit more independent retailers to its Mace symbol group.

P&H recently announced the launch of Partnership Plus, a new scheme which aims to provide tailored retail solutions to boost the sales and profits of independent customers. Retailers will be able to find out much more about the initiative at CRS.


=== Opening Hours ===

? Sunday April 6: 10am-5pm

? Monday April 7: 10am-5pm

? Tuesday April 8: 10am-5pm

? Wednesday April 9: 10am-4pm


=== food and drink world ===

IFFE and CRS 2008 are being held alongside Food & Drink Expo, Foodex Meatex and Baking Industry Exhibition to form Food and Drink World. Entry to Food & Drink World 2008 is free, and one ticket gets you into all five shows. More information is available at []