Forecourt Trader
PRA urges Brown to rethink fuel tax

Industry experts are calling on the government to make a u-turn over its recent fuel tax hike.The 2p increase, which came into force on October 1, has pushed the price of diesel and unleaded petrol above the £1-per-litre mark in many forecourts around the country.

Tax gloom

Fuel duty rises, grumbles from the Road Haulage Association, the nights drawing in - there's a strong whiff of the dismal atmosphere of the autumn of 2000 when the country was brought to a standstill by disgruntled tanker drivers.

Take the high road

Dave Kitson stands on his forecourt near Glencoe in Scotland and points down the road towards some intimidating-looking mountains: "The nearest petrol station is 16 miles in that direction," he says, raising his voice to make himself heard over the wind. Or there's one 17 miles in the other direction. If they're both closed, you have to carry on to Tyndrum - but that's about 30 miles from here. And 30 miles is a long way on these roads when it's blowing a gale and the snow's starting to fall."

fighting back

This time last year Pump Hill Service Station in Clacton, Essex, was in danger of becoming yet another statistic in the growing toll of forecourts that have gone out of business in recent years.

All mod cons

There is no 'one size fits all' epos solution for forecourts. So says Paul Cooper, business development director at HTEC. And he should know, as HTEC provides solutions to 50% of the UK's supermarkets and to 3,500 forecourts. "We have been in business since 1989, with a focus on forecourt retail operations and we process £6bn-worth of payment transactions per annum," he says.

Christmas countdown

Preparation is the key to having a successful festive season, according to Paul Lettice, trade communications manager at Procter & Gamble. "Retailers who are prepared to think in advance about their Christmas offering, point-of-sale requirements and stock-level needs are those that will benefit most significantly from the opportunities presented by this key selling time of year," he says.

Bottoms up

we Brits love our beer - but it seems an increasing number of us are swapping the grape for the grain.

New biofuel brand heading this way

FCL Biofuels has joined forces with European sustainable fuel company Prio SA to launch the Portuguese consumer brand PrioBio into the UK. It will be available to fuel retailers from November 1.

Majors defend superfuels

The major oil companies have dismissed claims that their 'superfuels' are not worth the extra money. Their comments follow an article in What Car? magazine which said independent tests found that high-octane premium fuels including BP Ultimate,

Fresh start for HTEC following restucture

Retail petroleum payment and loyalty solutions specialist HTEC unveiled a new brand image at a special event to celebrate a significant restructure within the Southampton-based organisation, and a "fresh start for the future".

Log on to new ACS website

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has a new website and logo designed to affirm its position as 'the voice of local shops'.

Healthy snacks are not tasty enough

Snack manufacturers need to ensure their healthy lines are tastier and more flavoursome if they want them to succeed, according to a new report from Datamonitor.

in brief

APEA's annual AGM, exhibition,conference and awards dinner will take place at the Telford International Centre on October 11. Keynote speaker is shadow defence minister, Dr Liam Fox. Topics to be addressed at the event include 'Fuels in the Environment' and fuel safety. For reservations call 020 8932 4505.

Results of this month's online poll:

Do you think there should be a grant system in England and Wales to assist struggling forecourt businesses?

Fuel prices - October 2nd, 2007

A Taxing Issue

Filling up at the pumps has got a lot more painful recently. With the price of a litre of fuel topping the £1 mark at forecourts up and down the country, motorists' hackles have been rising. Gordon Brown's 2p tax hike has stirred up a real hornets' nest,

In the surgery this month – Griffiths Garage, Leintwardine

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Almost hidden away in the countryside is the small Shropshire village of Leintwardine and it contains a real gem. Griffiths Garage has three main offers: a maintenance, repair and MOT service; a forecourt; and a convenience store.

Forecourt wages up 6.1% in a year

Our annual look at what this industry is paying its hourly-paid staff reveals that overall forecourt pay rates have increased by 6.1% in the year to September 2007. The UK national average now stands at £5.59 per hour compared to £5.27 last year. However, behind the average the picture is rather more mixed than usual.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

== Getting a good rate ==

Official green scheme

Going green isn't only good for the environment - it can also be good for your bank balance too.

Keeping a lid on it

Keep food spillage at bay with the Enterpack EHQ-200 machine. The counter-top automatic sealing system provides retailers with a no-spill, transparent, airtight seal on trays containing hot and cold food-to-go.

Drive-off deterrent

Ranger Services aims to crack down on drive-offs with its new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system.

Catering for you

Brakes Catering Supplies has launched an equipment warehouse website for retailers.

A prize and a half

Shopaholics can win a trip to Morocco thanks to Cadbury Trebor Bassett (CTB).The holiday is part of the company's Win a Prize and a Half on-pack promotion, which runs until next March.

Aunt Bessie's Best

Tryton Foods is launching Aunt Bessie's Best - premium Yorkshire puddings, which are 20% bigger than your standard pud. They are cooked for longer before freezing to make them lighter and crispier.

Dreamy lines from Johnson's

Johnson's new Dreamy Skin range is designed to encourage a blissful night's sleep.

Layla's saucy move

Retailers who want to generate extra profits from their freezers should give Layla's luscious ice cream sauces a try.

Natural goodness

Birds Eye has launched Omega 3 Fish Fingers.

Minis gets Thai limited edition

A limited-edition Thai flavour has been added to the Ryvita Minis range.

Big on indulgence

Flake has a new look and a new advertising campaign. The revamped packaging is designed to enhance the indulgent feel of the brand, while we will also see the Flake girl return to our screens.

Milkybar revamp

Nestlé Rowntree has revamped Milkybar to appeal to health-conscious parents. As a result, the chocolate is to be made with only natural ingredients.

How to enter giveaways

To win, simply write your name, address and telephone number on a postcard or a sealed envelope stating what you want – Bendicks, Relentless Inferno, Tangerine Confectionery or Walkers Nonsuch – and we'll do the rest, including delivery. Send it to Forecourt Trader, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT by October 31, 2007.

Mint Condition

Bendicks Mayfair is introducing new lines to stimulate growth in the Christmas market. Its after dinner mint assortment, Mint Collection, features a new pack and there is also a new locally-sourced Intense English mint.

Energise your sales

To celebrate the recent launch of Relentless Inferno, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is giving readers the chance to win outers of the energy drink.

Trip down memory lane

Tangerine Confectionery is giving away some of its leading sweets lines - Princess Marshmallows and Taveners Proper Sweets.

Toffee twist

Speciality toffee maker Walkers Nonsuch has some of its twistwrapped toffees up for grabs.


Who would have thought it? TV screens showing queues of people desperate to withdraw their savings from a bank they had thought safe. Not in Argentina, not in a banana republic, but in dear old Blighty. So how did this amazing state of affairs come to pass, and what's it got to do with us?