Forecourt Trader
Retailers fret as Torex crisis builds

Anxious retailers have demanded reassurance from retail systems provider Torex Retail after it became the subject of a Serious Fraud Office investigation this week.

Mike Jennings

== What is Stage II Vapour Recovery? ==

All hands to the pump

Imagine the scene 14 years ago. A half-acre plot of land - part of the Ministry of Defence Army barracks - on the outskirts of Honiton in Devon, comes up for sale. It is surrounded by nothing more than fields and open spaces - and a minor road. Interested? Steve Parks was, and he bought it.

Protect your assets

Crime on the Forecourt has long been a huge headache for the petrol retailing fraternity, as was confirmed by a recent survey which showed that safety and security at work concerned nearly half of all forecourt staff questioned.

Full of beans

Inside the home, we Brits remain a nation of tea drinkers, but step outside the front door and premium coffee has become the hot drink of choice. As big brands such as Starbucks and Costa dominate the high-street coffee bars, discerning drivers are also increasingly on the look out for a high quality cup of coffee.

Little extras

In just six weeks in 2004, DSL sold 1.8 million solar lights from garage forecourts up and down the country. Talk about having the right product at the right price, in the right place at the right time."They were just stab-in-the-ground solar lights selling at £3.99 but they generated retail sales of nearly £7m," explains Linda Horton, southern UK area manager.

Xmo Strata calls for tougher canopies

Sign installation and maintenance specialist Xmo Strata has called for sign and canopy manufacturers to make forecourt signs more robust in the wake of a two-month spell of abnormally high winds during which a 58-year-old man was killed when a canopy on a Sainsbury's forecourt in Lancashire fell on him.

Curb rogue washers says ACS

Greater enforcement of existing car wash regulations is being demanded of the government by the Association of Convenience Stores. Chief executive, James Lowman, said: "There needs to be greater enforcement against rogue operators who regularly flout environmental and health and safety laws."

Commission goes local for latest look

As the Competition Commission's investigation into the grocery market moves on to local retailing issues, PRA boss Ray Holloway has admitted he's pessimistic about the results. "My money is firmly on the CC deciding that the general offer by all supermarkets is competitive and beneficial to communities, and as a result it will not intervene," he told Forecourt Trader.

Owner told to clean up his act

In the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland, a Hollywood filling station owner has been fined £2,000 and ordered to pay compensation of £3,500 to a motorist under the Clean Air Act.

Forecourt property boom continues

Growth in forecourt property values has more than doubled in the past year, according to agents Christie & Co.

In brief

BP has agreed to sell its Coryton Refinery to Petroplus Holdings AG for $1.4bn, subject to required regulatory approvals. The two companies have also entered into a long-term supply agreement which will provide BP's UK-based retail and other businesses with the products they require.

Fuel prices - January 29, 2007

Waiting game

News that Torex Retail plc was being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office, shortly after it had announced a dire profits warning followed by a suspension of share dealing, has sent shivers down the spines of the many forecourt operators who use the company's retail systems.

In the surgery this month

General Appearance: Driving from the Manor House area along the very busy A503 Seven Sisters Road towards Finsbury Park, I made a 'stealthcheck' on what I thought would be a cutting-edge, gold mine of a Jet Service Station and shop. Wow, what a surprise - this is in fact a very run-down and very disappointing site.

Tick tock

Although we've written frequently about the problems encountered when someone suddenly moves from operating one or two sites to a multi-site operation, we make no apology for returning to the issue. This is because some of these operators are about to hit their first accounting year-end.

Service Centre with Jac Roper - Give us a break

Neil McCarthy, who runs MPM Services in Suffolk, rang to ask if he had heard right. Was holiday entitlement for workers going up from 20 days a year to 28? And is it a done deal?

Final countdown

== Best oil company initiative - winner ==

Big pay off

Texaco has reached an agreement with branded payment collection network, Payzone, which will see services actively marketed to its dealer network.

Protect and serve

A device to protect customers from Chip & PIN fraud is to be introduced nationwide by Ingenico UK, following a successful trial at a Boots store in Cambridge.

Speedy soak up

A new type of industrial absorbent, which is said to soak up oil and fuel spills faster than traditional clay granules, is available from Yorkshire-based Northern Insulation Pipeline Stockists (NIPS).

Smart message system

A new directional sound system, available from Audionation, can help retailers to deliver audio messages to customers, without annoying staff, says company director, Mark Webster.

Healthier snacks

Walkers is relaunching its Quavers, Monster Munch, Squares and French Fries with significant reductions in their saturated fat and salt content.

Twix's icy comeback

Masterfoods has unveiled its ice cream line up for 2007, following bumper sales during last year's hot summer when the impulse ice cream market grew by 7.9%.

Three subs join Ginsters roll range

Ginsters has launched a new range of sub-style rolls. There are three varieties, all made using a premium white-bread roll that has a specially-enriched dough which is meant to maintain its fresh-baked characteristics for longer.

Spotlight on Maoam

A high-profile advertising and online campaign aims to keep Haribo's Maoam brand in the spotlight in 2007. TV advertising, which breaks this month and runs into March before a second stint in June, is expected to reach an estimated 22 million consumers across a range of channels - while complying with new Ofcom regulations which restrict advertising to under-16s.

Easter impulse lines

A four-strong range of seasonal confectionery products is being launched by Cuisine De France in the run up to Easter.

Organic shake just for men

My Goodness has launched what it says is the UK's first organic impulse drink for men.

Natural selection

Eat Natural has launched an indulgent new seasonal snack bar, which will be available for a limited period of four months.

Taste of Heaven

Nestlé Rowntree is targeting the growing premium chocolate sector with the launch of Heaven, a range of Swiss chocolate with indulgent soft centres.

Rustling up TV ads

Kepak Convenience Foods is doubling its annual investment in the Rustlers range of microwaveable snacks.

More meat, less fat

Peperami has been relaunched with reduced salt and fat levels across the range, and is being supported by a £4m marketing campaign.


Recently that motley crew of the world's most powerful people all met up at Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Despite its name, this Forum doesn't confine itself to economic matters but tries to hold discussions on a wide-ranging set of issues. Of course, Uncle Tony, Prudence Brown and the boy Dave were all in attendance, strutting their stuff and hoping to further their own ambitions.