The importance of convenience retailing for today’s forecourt operators is acknowledged this March with the launch of the Forecourt Retailing Show, NEC, Birmingham, March 14-17. Part of the Convenience Retailing Show 2004, the event is the initiative of Forecourt Trader and Convenience Store publisher, William Reed Business Media Ltd, which also organises the biennial International Forecourt and Fuel Equipment Exhibition.

Andrew Reed, exhibitions director at William Reed, explained that the show is a response to demand for an annual event for forecourt operators looking to boost their bottom lines through their convenience offer.

“The number of forecourts may be declining, but the size of most forecourt stores is increasing, and they are even better placed to compete as they can now stay open for 24 hours,” said Reed. As a result, a forecourt’s convenience offer is no longer peripheral – it is inextricably linked to the business as a whole.

“The idea of the show is to focus on what forecourt traders can do with their stores that is different to other high street c-stores,” said Reed

Supported by Forecourt Trader, Garage Watch and the Petrol Retailers Association, the event is an opportunity to see major suppliers showcase the new products that will help operators drive their businesses forward. Also in attendance will be major oil companies, symbol groups and other retailers, including Somerfield and Bestways, and there will be a series of discussions by industry experts in the Future of the Forecourt Shop seminar area.

According to Reed, the show offers forecourt operator access to a comprehensive event that will allow them to keep apace with trends, and generate new ideas to make the most of their businesses. “Increasing pressure on fuel margins is the driver behind the importance of maximising ROI from the entire site. But there is still a surprising number of operators – independents in particular – who are not maximising the potential of their space,” said Reed.

Visitors will also have access to the Convenience Retailing Show 2004, and both events run alongside the Food & Drink Expo.