Forecourt Trader
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.

Sales spiral upwards at Welcome Break

Welcome Break - which recently announced plans for a £750,000 rebranding programme - has signed a deal with Country Choice, which will see the Bake & Bite food-to-go brand rolled out to around 25 forecourt sites.

Fuel prices - November 28, 2006

In brief

Garage Watch has joined the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) in a bid to give its members extended benefits and services. Garage Watch boss Mark Bradshaw said it made sense after the help his organisation received from the FPS in its early days.

Get connected

The idea of taking on a franchise is instinctively taboo for most independent retailers. But that is what's on offer from BP as it deems the trial of its Connect and Wild Bean Café franchise - on two sites belonging to Motor Fuels Ltd - a success, and has put in motion plans to roll it out to the wider retailing network.

In the surgery this month

General Appearance: On my way from Watford I urgently needed fuel and found myself on the Dome roundabout (junction of the A41 and A412) and spoiled for choice. A service station is available at three of the roundabouts exits so would it be the Sainsbury supermarket, the Asda hypermarket or the Sainsbury Local Shell site? No contest, I turned into the most convenient of the sites - the Sceptre Local site.

Finding yourself in the negative universe

Accounting can sometimes be a funny old game - quite often it's funny when the accounting system produces negative figures. Some of these are pretty obvious, and actually most of them aren't funny at all.

Service Centre with Jac Roper - No whitewash here

Jonathan James spent £100K in January on four jet washes and two plastic tunnels supplied by WashTec.

Meet the neighbours

Once again the neighbourhood category was one of the most hotly contested at the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards 2006.

Dispenser to coin it in

An epos-linked, coin-dispensing unit - the Transact Coin Dispenser - which has enabled US forecourt operators to save money and improve speed of service in their stores, is being launched in the UK by Oxfordshire-based Llexan Systems.

Endless versatility

A contactless payment key fob, and a thin oval-shaped wristband are just two of the payment possibilities enabled by Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated's contactless payment chip and antenna packages.

Terminal pos deal

Indigo Retail has signed an agreement with Radiant Systems to supply its new-generation touch-screen point-of-sale terminal to the UK and Irish forecourt convenience markets.

New OPT system

Epos specialist HTEC is about to launch a new HydraPOD standalone outdoor payment terminal, to complement its existing OPT products which are already available for integrated deployment with Gilbarco and Wayne pumps. Features include unmanned fuelling for up to five pumps; option to allow sale of car wash at pump, with CODAX wash number printout; and it can be deployed at the car wash for 'pay at wash bay' by credit/debit card.

Castrol kicks off

Castrol has finalised a sponsorship agreement with UEFA to become an official global sponsor of Euro 2008.

Ryvita sweetens up

Ryvita is extending its range of healthier snacks with the introduction of Ryvita Muesli Crunch, a sweet snack, which is designed to be eaten on its own.

More pleasure in each pack

Mates Condoms is launching a 'pleasure-enhancing' pack called Mates Ultimate Selection, which combines products from across categories.

Snaps back on TV

Cadbury Trebor Bassett is launching a TV advertising campaign to support the relaunch of its £13m Cadbury Snaps brand.

Candy's soccer scene

Mike and Ike - one of America's top-selling candy brands - is receiving its first consumer advertising support following what has been described as a "spectacularly successful" UK launch.

Heinz goes for frozen growth

Heinz is launching a number of new products across its two main brands: Weight Watchers from Heinz (WWfH) and Aunt Bessie's, as part of a £7m investment in its frozen product portfolio.

Fruit Shoot in print

Britvic has launched a new print advertising campaign for Robinson's Fruit Shoot to reassure mums that the drinks contain no artificial flavours and colours.

Evening unit

Walkers is introducing an evening snacking three-case stacker - a merchandising unit containing 99p price-marked packs of Sensations and Doritos. The stacker will contain Sensations Thai sweet chilli, Doritos tangy cheese and Sensations chicken with lemon & thyme, and is designed to help retailers make the most of the increased demand for big bags at Christmas time.

Silver Slide is back

Benson & Hedges Silver Slide from Gallaher is available once again following its introduction in May as a limited-edition pack. Its launch helped to raise B&H Silver's market share by 25% as well as drive growth in the important value-for-money sector, according to Jeremy Blackburn, Gallaher's group communications manager.

Smooth operators

Timotei has added new Soft & Smooth with bamboo & shea butter shampoo and conditioner to its naturally-inspired hair care range.

A friendly offer

Fisherman's Friend is pushing the boat out to promote its famous medicated confectionery brand this winter.

Mo'gas: An irreverant view from the network

So here we are in December, another year nearly gone. It would be nice to claim that I've been too busy to properly prepare an end of year report but, sadly, that hasn't been the case. In truth, October and November just haven't seen the usual increase in activity from our punters. I know it's not due to the competition as that hasn't changed. And I'm pretty sure it's not that my operation has worsened.