The Icelandic volcano eruption caused problems for some retailers – and unexpected opportunities for others. Whether sites were winners or losers depended on their location.

Many retailers with sites near the main ports being used to weary ferry travellers in and out of the country benefitted from a sudden increase in fuel sales. David Williams, manager at independent retailer George Hammond’s Dover South site, said fuel was about a third higher the days following the flight ban due to the volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajokull.

David added: "And of course there has been an impact on the shop side too as everybody who pulls up on the coaches that have been refuelling here wants to get off to get something to eat and drink.”

Fuel sales were also up overall at Sewell Retail, which has a site near the Port of Hull.

Meanwhile, forecourts near airports saw sales nosedive. BP said its sites at Stansted Airport and Gatwick were "like a ghost town", with people avoiding the sites unless they lived or worked nearby. The Roadside Group and Manor Service Stations also reported fuel volumes had dropped significantly at sites near airports.

A more indepth look at how the volcanic eruption affected the industry will be printed in the May issue of Forecourt Trader.