Forecourt Trader
New Year coming of age on tobacco

Forecourt retailers have broadly welcomed the government's New Year's Day announcement that the legal age for buying tobacco products will be raised from 16 to 18 from October 1, 2007, saying the higher age limit will be easier to enforce.

Perfect partners

The Motor Fuels Group has recently become the focus of attention following its year-long, two-site trial of BP's Connect and Wild Bean franchise - and more especially because with these sites now running successfully, the company is ready to sign up two more.

Leak practice

Forecourt owners need to be more proactive in their approach to their tanks and pipework to prevent problems from happening, according to Steve Watts, UK sales director at Torex Retail. "We can all be guilty of waiting for an event to happen before doing anything about it, but cleaning up after a leak can be a very expensive business," he says.

Action stations

the forecourt property market is buzzing with activity at the moment, with competition for sites fiercer than ever and prices spiralling to match. In fact, John Coulling, associate director of motor trade and roadside at Lambert Smith Hampton, describes the market as "on fire" compared to two years ago.

Burning issues

Tobacco retailers were already facing a raft of new legislation before the New Year's Day announcement concerning the raising of the minimum legal age for buying tobacco products from 16 to 18 from October 1.

An 'Air razing' offer

CarPlan has launched a new range of attention-grabbing novelty air fresheners, called Air Razors.

IFFE 2007 scores oil company hat trick

Three oil companies will be exhibiting at IFFE 2007 - Gulf Retail is returning to the show while Murco and Pace Petroleum are both new exhibitors.

Tesco on the rise as site slide continues

Tesco has consolidated its position as the second largest fuel retailer in the UK, as site numbers have continued to fall, according to the latest figures published by Catalist.

Sims off to Compass

Former BP UK retail director, Graham Sims, has been appointed managing director, business and industry, at the catering company, Compass Group UK & Ireland. Compass was keen to recruit him for his "substantial retail skills".

BP's pump TV a hit on dealer trial site

At-the-pump TV is proving popular with customers at the first dealer site to trial a new service being piloted by BP. Screens have been up and running for a month at the BP Meteor Service Station in Alfreton, Derbyshire - part of the Hockenhull group - as part of a three-site pilot of the BPTV format, which also involves two company-owned Connect sites in Milton Keynes.

Webcast to promote V-Power

Shell has launched a contest to find Britain's best driver and promote its V-Power fuel brand. Two teams of 10 candidates from across the UK - one male, led by TV presenter and former-footballer Ian Wright; and one female, led by supermodel Jodie Kidd - will compete in the Shell V-Power Britain's Best Driver Challenge.

Focus on terminals could still pay off

UK forecourts are ahead of many of their European counterparts in adopting the latest card payment systems, but they could still work them harder, according to new research by Datamonitor.

In brief

BP has responded to complaints by angry motorists who were issued with fines for being parked for longer than 20 minutes at Gatwick Airport sites by doubling the time limit to 40. But new penalties are also being implemented - a £50 fine if paid within 14 days and £100 if not. A spokesman said they were necessary as some motorists used the sites as car parks while waiting for airport passengers.

News review 2006


Double take

Last year saw a steep rise in the number of oil company and grocery retailer partnerships, a trend that is undoubtedly going to continue into 2007, according to Greg Hodge, retail forecourt analyst at Planet Retail, in his latest report on the global forecourt market.

In the surgery this month

General Appearance: The Simon Smith Group has a number of stores in Gloucestershire and my target was the prize-winning 24-hour site in Barnwood Road. This includes a Budgens store and Total forecourt.

Forecourt franchising?

It was quite surprising to see 'franchising' suddenly feature so prominently in last month's Forecourt Trader - and rather timely too. EKW Group has been involved in franchising for some 20 years, and it's one of the few accounting practices officially affiliated to the Britsh Franchise Association (BFA). In fact at several recent meetings one question that's been repeatedly raised is "why hasn't the UK petrol industry gone down the franchise route?". Well there are several answers, but first some background.

Service Centre with Jac Roper - When petrol dries up

In the past few days I've spoken to two people engaged in retailing with businesses which had each clocked up 40 years as petrol forecourts.

Main route masters

Brackenvale Retail Centre has always been a large site by anyone's standards but now it's "bigger and better than ever", according to manager Sam Hawkes, who collected the latest in a string of accolades at the Forecourt Trader Awards 2006.

Meter made to save money

A revolutionary new fuel meter - Xflo - will set a new standard of accuracy and save retailers thousands of litres of lost fuel, according to Piotr Pojedynek, marketing manager of Dresser Wayne's European operation, which will launch the new meter on January 15.

Car wash pays off

Istobal is celebrating the second anniversary of the launch of its M18+ five-brush rollover car wash, one of which was recently installed at the GH Griffiths, Cowbridge Road Service Station in Bridgend.

HTEC's big win

HTEC has secured a comprehensive three-year contract with Chevron to provide Chip & PIN maintenance, support and asset management at Texaco-branded sites.

Trident hits the UK

Cadbury Trebor Bassett is entering the UK gum market with the launch of its international Trident brand. Cadbury says Trident is the world's second-largest gum brand and is supporting the UK launch with a £10m spend, including TV advertising and sampling.

Family favourites

Stockley's Sweets has launched a new range of traditional confectionery, aimed at impulse outlets.

Energy69 gets health boost

Energy69 has been reformulated to appeal to consumers looking for a more healthy boost, using caffeine-rich green tea as a natural stimulant instead of taurine.

Creme Eggs are back

The return of Cadbury Creme Egg is being supported by a £5m marketing campaign.

Cracking soft drinks

New drinks company, Cracker, has launched a natural juice drink which aims to revolutionise the ambient juice market,

'Moo' ads for Skinny Cow

Low-fat ice cream brand The Skinny Cow, made by Richmond, is back on TV this month with a £1.5m campaign that aims to capitalise on demand for healthy products in the new year.

Beefing up Jerky

The Jerky Group has launched new Rocking JC beef steak nuggets, aimed at widening the brand's appeal. The new product has a softer texture than traditional jerky, making it easier to eat, and the nugget format is thought to be more accessible to consumers, particularly women.

Coke is it in 2007

Coca-Cola's plans for early 2007 include new TV advertising for Diet Coke and the return of the popular 'buy a player' on-pack promotion, as part of its ongoing Football League sponsorship.

Snacks shaping up

United Biscuits has announced a host of activity across its biscuits, snacks and cakes range for 2007, including an increased focus on health which has seen a reduction in saturated fat and salt in key brands.

PG monkeys around

PG Tips is backing the launch of new-look packs of tea with an £18m campaign including TV ads starring comedian Johnny Vegas and his knitted sidekick Monkey.


I PARTICULARLY LOOK FORWARD to the period between Christmas and New Year. It's one of the few times in the year that I give myself a few days off. Of course I go in on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day - not full days you understand, just a few hours to show my face. I think this is important if you expect your staff to work these unsociable hours. Luckily my delivered trade supplier always carries out stocktaking during this time, so there's no big order to oversee. I've usually so over-ordered on fuel that tankers aren't a problem so, emergencies excepted, it's the ideal time to slope off for a couple of days.

Fuel prices - January 1, 2007