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April

Sims signs off with praise for top indies

Forecourt retailers should club together to extract greater value from their supply deals, urged Graham Sims, BP's erstwhile UK retail director in a colourful and rousing speech at the inaugural 'Top 50 Indies' dinner held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Birmingham last month.

Stand by your pumps

So you think you're a top retailer? Then get your pens and cameras out now and start filling in the forms and taking the pictures that will put you in the running for the top award in the petrol retailing industry - Forecourt Trader of the Year.

The frozen ones

With Easter said to mark the start of the ice cream season, forecourt retailers should already be making sure their freezers are fully stocked and looking spick and span. In this trading sector children aren't the main customers so forecourts can benefit from the popularity of higher-margin premium products that are specifically aimed at adults.

Footie fever

According to the bookies, England is second favourite to win the World Cup, after Brazil. It would be great if they won but even if they don't, you could win during this massive tournament. That's because of the UK's insatiable appetite for everything football. Up and down the country there will be millions of armchair fans screaming at their TV sets willing the players on. And of course they'll need to keep their energy up so they'll need snacks and plenty of beer to wash them all down. If you've got an off licence, the World Cup is an ideal opportunity to promote it. Make sure your customers know you're licensed to sell beer. And make sure you've got plenty of chilled, take-home packs in stock prior to kick-off.

Morning stars

Ask 20 different people what they have for breakfast and chances are you'll get 20 different answers. And that's because a lot of us don't get time for a sit-down breakfast in the mornings and instead have to opt for breakfast on the run. So that breakfast could be a banana, a cereal bar, or even a sandwich. Obviously all this is good news for forecourt stores as consumers grab something convenient on their way into work.

United we stand, says Wilson

A call to all independent retailers to stand together and fight the march of the supermarkets was made by Mark Wilson (pictured) group operations manager at the Fraser Group, in a Forecourt Live! lunchtime session at the IFFE show.

Get your awards entries in by June 9, 2006

The hunt is on for the next recipient of the industry's most prestigious award - Forecourt Trader of the Year 2006. The awards are now 10 years old and continue to recognise the hard work and skills of petrol retailers nationwide, highlighting those who have displayed high standards of professionalism in a fiercely competitive sector. As well as looking for the best overall sites, there are also a number of specialist categories to enter. Finalists will be invited to the awards dinner at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel, London, on Thursday, September 21.

Drought threat to car wash business

The impending drought could spell a difficult summer for sites with car wash facilities. Hose pipe bans are now in force over most of the south east and some water companies have already applied for further restrictions, which could put a halt to what is a valuable profit-driver.

Boozy man attempts pump fire

A man who tried to set fire to a petrol pump with a cigarette lighter has been jailed for three years.

Retailers not ready for new 'age Act'

Just two per cent of retailers are ready for the new legislation that will outlaw age discrimination, according to a study by the Age Partnership Group.

As ESSO and BP join Shell and Gulf in launching new loyalty programmes this year, are such schemes a key tool for businesses today?