Well done to all the winners at last month’s Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards ceremony, particularly Bhupa, Lata and Jay Gohil, who took the top prize this year (see full report from page 43). It takes a lot of hard work, courage and determination to create and, more importantly, maintain a successful business, and the efforts of all those thriving in today’s market cannot be underestimated.
Their achievements come particularly into focus against the fact that so many oil companies, with their relatively huge resources, have thrown in the towel and are now bugging out of the UK as fast as their armies of tankers can take them. Last month Total confirmed its ’review’ of its UK assets (see News Extra page 10), which followed Murco’s similar announcement in July.
No surprise then, that at the Forecourt Trader awards ceremony with nearly 700 guests from the fuel retailing industry present there was plenty to talk about!
For some people the prospect of two major brands exiting the market raises huge questions of uncertainty about their future. For others, well, they are simply rubbing their hands with glee. One or two, with the wherewithal to make the most of the opportunity to expand their businesses are like children in a sweet shop. Such choice. Where to start? This could be where the minors become majors. Certainly the majors will be negotiating hard to sell off as much of their stock in as few deals as possible. There will be new partnerships springing up as those interested in the retail sites join forces with those interested in the distribution operations.
Many are wondering whether, or to what extent, to take the plunge. They are thinking about a few years ago when BP sold off hundreds of sites and the Top Indies list was born. Property prices soared, and it was all good news. No one knows what the market will be like in two years time. But one thing is for sure we’ll have plenty to write about in the meantime!