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December

BP hints at M&S franchise trial

M&S could be part of a BP Connect franchise package in the future, according to Howard Nunn, BP's European franchise development manager.

Super marketing

Supermarkets have not exactly been the most popular of organisations among the traditional fuel retailing fraternity - not since the early '90s, when their price-cutting strategies led to a phenomenal period of growth and the capture of one third of the market.

Double bubble

Car washing continues to offer some of the highest margins on the forecourt, but it's not without its challenges.

Hatch a plan

Saint Valentine's Day: chocolates - check; heart-shaped novelties - check; red roses - check. Mother's Day: flowers - check; chocolates - check. Easter: eggs - check. If only it were as simple as that - make a list, buy the stock, display it and it sells itself. But with the grocery multiples cutting prices and promoting like crazy (especially on shell eggs), there's more to consider - principally getting your range right for your customers. But forecourts definitely shouldn't give up on Easter altogether.

Counter cures

The past five years have seen huge changes in the way over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are sold, meaning the traditional pharmacy need no longer be the consumer's first port of call when they're ill. Wider availability, more medicines being switched from pharmacy-only to the General Sales List (GSL) and government promotion of self-medication have combined to create a significant opportunity for other outlets, not least forecourts.

Dealers accept cost of V-Power diesel

Shell dealers could face having to install new tanks and pipework if they want to sell the new premium fuel V-Power diesel, launched last month on 31 co-owned forecourts in the south east. The new diesel is retailing at 6ppl more than standard diesel, and Shell claims it is the first UK fuel to use a synthetic component made from natural gas.

Drivers get extra time

BP is set to extend the waiting time allowed at its Gatwick airport site in West Sussex after angry motorists were issued with £150 fines for parking on the forecourt for longer than 20 minutes.

BP changes alcohol policy in its stores

BP has adopted a 'Challenge 25' policy on its company-owned sites in the Fife area of Scotland after one forecourt had its licence revoked for selling alcohol to under-18s.

K&F hits the Spot with seven sites

Staffordshire-based Spot Service Stations has sold seven of its eight sites to K&F Limited, a company run by Kamran and Farooq Khan. The two men are understood to be new to forecourt retailing.

Total posts reward for raid details

Total has offered a £3,000 reward after a night-time raid on a Leicester filling station. Thieves stole cash, cigarettes, phonecards and disposable cameras from the shop, which was closed at the time.

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