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November

BP reassures dealers of UK commitment

Retailers were impressed by BP's recent dealer conference in Spain, in which fuels operation manager Peter Molloy, stressed that BP was fully committed to its UK dealer business and had a clear strategy to win for the future.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

== The old and the young ==

Dark invader

Market rationalisation, declining fuel margins, and diversification into food and drink sales to stay in business. It's a familiar tale - and one that is obviously not bound by oceans. For this is the background to the Canadian petrol station market, where a recent study tour in Toronto - organised by the Association of Convenience Stores - showed how, as in the UK, reinvention and innovation has been the driving force for survival.

Fuel for thought

Ask your customers what their priority is when filling up their cars and most of them will say cost. You see it might be trendy, even politically correct, to worry about the environment but most drivers are worried about how much it costs them to fill up on the forecourt.

Meal ticket

One in three people look for quick and easy-to-prepare foods during the week, according to Mintel's latest Evening Meal report. And for time-strapped commuters forecourts are often a convenient place to stop and pick up something for dinner.

Celling power

More than 660 million batteries will be sold in the UK this year, according to Mintel, as we continue to fill our lives with power-hungry toys and gadgets. The vast majority of these batteries will be bought on impulse, meaning forecourts are ideally placed to serve the instant needs of today's high-tech consumers. However, the message on this year's report card reads 'could do better'.

Drivers go 'wild' at BP

Motorists using the BP service station near Gatwick airport in West Sussex are fuming after being sent fines of £150 for parking on the forecourt for more than 20 minutes - especially as marketing for the Wild Bean Café encourages them to stop for a break.

Com-ops upset by Total's restructure

Total has come under fire by some of its commission operators for the way it handled the re-organisation of its company-owned network. One said he felt kept in the dark about the future of his business for too long. With most sites now being run in clusters by large dealer groups - so-called 'super com-ops' - there are rumoured to be only 28 original com-ops left, although Total would not confirm this.

Helmet ban in bid to prevent drive-offs

A petrol station owner has got so fed up with bikers 'bilking' from his BP outlet, that he's now refusing to serve them unless they take off their helmets.

Anti-theft car plates in demand

Secureplate, from Hills Numberplates, is a new theft-resistant car plate.

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