Businesses in Forecourt Trader’s Top 50 Indies have reported solid trading over the Christmas period, despite bad weather, the depressed economy and pressure from the supermarkets.
Nick Lloyd, managing director of Forecourt Trader of the Year winner, Symonds Forecourts, said business had been strong over the Christmas period despite torrential rain with its Budgens stores achieving double digit growth compared with the same period last year.
He said the company, which is number 36 in the Top 50 and based in Yeovil, Somerset, had taken an aggressive approach to pricing beers wines and spirits in a couple of stores and this had paid off with sales increasing 15%.
The heavy rain and flooding in the West Country had not deterred shoppers, he said, but the mild weather had affected sales of some higher margin seasonal products such as de-icer and outdoor fuels.
In Leicestershire, Eddie Bright director of Brobot Group, number 11 in the Top 50 Indies, reported: “Christmas trading was nothing exciting, but compared to December last year we were slightly up on both volume and shop sales by just under 2% on fuel and 5% in the shops. This is a reflection of all our sites, but on an individual basis we had a mixture of winners and losers and given 2011was not good, we continue to feel the pinch of recession.”
At Carlisle-based Hills of Corby Hill, number 21 in the Top 50 Indies, the final figures were still being prepared, but business was solid and despite the rain the weather was kinder than last year. Director Michael Collin said notes on the system from last year showed the A66 was closed for nine days by snow.
In Scotland, Cameron Gold, managing director of Thames Petroleum, said they were also just collating the final figures at the business, which is number 40 in the Top 50. However, he said the tanker side of the business had been quiet and attributed this to the high level of promotions by the supermarkets.