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June

Defending their territory

It’s great to see the petrol retailing community getting a few campaigns together and defending their territory. It’s about time. First off – the Garagewatch campaign to encourage more post offices to be sited on forecourts, rather than lose them forever.

Put post offices in forecourts plea

Garage Watch Campaign (GWC) is stepping up its drive to get more post offices put in forecourt stores. The news comes as the government is about to close 2,500 post offices. Apparently losses from these outlets are running at £4m a week.

Atlanta calling

Twenty-eight-year-old Nick Brown is a man with a plan, and that plan is to win the Global Convenience Industry Achievement Award when he goes to NACS in Atlanta, Georgia in the autumn.

Mission Possible

Buying what they want, when they want it, is top of customers' shopping lists - but still many of them don't manage this simplest of tasks. According to research company HIM's latest survey of 30,000 people, 7% failed to make a purchase during their visit to a c-store or forecourt, compared with 5% last year.

Family fortunes

A friendly welcome, a bit of banter and some sound purchasing advice are all part of the offer at Chaddlewood Garage in the Plympton area of Plymouth.

Burning desire

In 2006 adult smokers spent just over £13bn on cigarettes, cigars, RYO tobacco, lighters and other accessories - and a lot of that money went through forecourt tills. Cigarettes is, of course, by far the biggest part of the market - worth £11.34bn in retail sales. And forecourts take an 11.8% share of those sales. Iain Watkins, trade communications manager at Imperial Tobacco, comments: "The number of forecourts is in decline yet they still account for one in every eight packs of cigarettes sold. That's pretty impressive."

Lunch time

We're all consumers so we all know how easy it is to get fed up with certain sandwiches or snacks. Sometimes we need a change. So imagine, for a moment, being a regular lunchtime shopper in your forecourt store. You visit two or three times a week to pick up a sandwich, some crisps and a drink. What sort of choice do you have? Has it been the same old selection of BLT, chicken salad or prawn on offer for the past few months or have there been any new additions? You can see where this is heading. The consumer gets cheesed off with cheese & pickle and heads elsewhere to spend his five quid or more on his lunch.

Award winner sells out to Tates chain

Forecourt Trader of the Year 2006 winner, Westbridge Motors, has sold its filling station and shop to Spar retailer Tates on a leasehold deal.

Retailer fury at Daily Express

A Yorkshire retailer has slammed the Daily Express for publishing a story accusing forecourts of charging rip-off petrol prices. Tony Boorman of Tyke 2000 in Malton, North Yorkshire, was so incensed by what he read that he rang the paper and spoke directly to the journalist responsible.

Supermarkets' fuel sales keep growing

The supermarkets' share of petrol sales rose to 40.6% last year, while their share of diesel sales increased to 33%.

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