The Petrol Retailers’ Association (PRA) has moved to allay retailer concerns about its future direction, amid widespread rumours that its days were numbered, and that director Ray Holloway had quit. Retailers have been withholding their membership fees as

they await confirmation of the current state of affairs.

The furore began following a meeting of the PRA’s parent body, the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), in December, during which a review of its future - to be decided by the spring - was announced.

PRA director Ray Holloway said he wanted to allay any feelings of unease or uncertainty. He confirmed that the RMIF had launched a business review of all of the eight trade associations which come under its wing - not just the PRA - following the appointment of Paul Williams as non-executive chairman in October.

Retailers told Forecourt Trader they understood that the RMIF had been interested for some time in moving its focus away from the petrol division side of the business, and that this had caused some internal concerns and wrangling.

As a result, some members were reluctant to pay their fees at the end of 2008 until they knew how the RMIF would proceed.

Holloway said it was impossible to comment at present on the possible outcome of the review, but added: "Every organisation needs to have a business review from time to time. Yes, there is a PRA and yes there will be a PRA.

"But will the PRA of 2009 look the same as the PRA of 2008? That’s what we’re not sure about."

Holloway reassured retailers that the RMIF was in a strong financial position and he expected to see the PRA business review concluded by the end of the first quarter of this year - with an announcement on the outcome to follow shortly afterwards.

He said: "We’ve had some discussions about where the PRA sees itself in three years time. I’m not saying there won’t be any changes because I just don’t know if there will be or not. There is a business review taking place and I’m actively pursuing it."