Forecourt Trader
BP's margin cut 'immoral'

BP's dealer network has reacted angrily after the oil giant cut fuel margins - and announced record profits in the same week. BP contacted dealers on March 31 to say it was increasing its grade premia charges on fuel. It listed many factors for the rise, implemented on May 1, including rising prices for crude oil and utilities and the recent Grangemouth strike. It added:

BP in the dog house

It's been a long time since there was such a universal outpouring of venom among retailers about any oil company as there is currently against BP. Retailers nationwide are spitting feathers. And who can blame them? One minute they're scrolling through the usual morning emails, 101 things going on in their mind as usual as they face the constant challenges of maintaining a successful business. Then - wham! - out of the blue, comes the email from BP, their 'partner' in business, with news that will make a significant dent in their anorexic fuel margin, and knock many thousands of pounds from their bottom line. All this to take place within a month - and, just to rub salt into the wounds, it comes as BP announces record profits.

Never say never

'You only live twice' - so why not enter our awards this year, which culminate in a James Bond-themed evening (at the London Hilton on September 25) in recognition of the latest 007 film. And to ensure it's more than a 'Quantum of Solace', you need to make sure your entry is as good as it can be.

Road to recovery

The hot topic in the pumps sector this year looks set to be Stage II Vapour Recovery(VR) - and the deadline is approaching fast.

Full of fizz

Despite the rise in popularity of fruit drinks and smoothies, the UK soft drinks market is still dominated by cola which, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks report, recorded sales of £1.2bn in the take-home market last year, up 2% on 2006. And fruit carbonates, though in decline, were still worth £438m, which is nearly double the size of the smoothies market.

Group effort

In 2006 Justin Entwistle, managing director of Hambleton Service Station near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire joined Spar. Then he had a 1,000sq ft unbranded store turning over between £8,000 and £10,000 a week. Today he has a 2,600sq ft Spar store doing £23,000-£24,000 a week and he is confident of getting the turnover up to £30,000. Justin describes his store as modern; its state-of-the-art features include a walk-in chilled room for alcohol where the beers and wines are kept at below 10°C.

More truck protests looming

Truckers may be planning further action to follow the protest staged in London against the soaring price of diesel fuel. Lorry drivers travelled from as far as Cornwall and mid-Wales for last month's rally, which included a delegation handing a coffin in at the Houses of Parliament to symbolise the demise of the haulage industry. The protest, organised by Transaction 2007,

Innovation the key at ACS Summit '08

Community, environment and innovation were the three key themes at last month's Summit, the annual conference organised by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). Chaired by TV presenter John Stapleton, the Summit attracted its biggest audience ever with 400 delegates, including some of the industry's key players,

Big Media leaves big mess

Retailers face having to pay thousands of pounds for a system they cannot use after Big Media Group Ltd went into voluntary liquidation.

P&H adds value to its symbol offer

Palmer & Harvey, the UK's largest wholesale distributor, is relaunching its symbol offer with a greater range of benefits and incentives designed to add more value for both existing and potential new members. Revealing the news at the company's annual Pro-Retail Exhibition at the International

News in brief

he confectionery market, valued at £4.7 billion, is back in growth for the first time in two years, according to the 2008 Mars Confectionery Report. The total market grew by 5.2% year-on-year in 2007, and now accounts for 72% of the £6.5 billion Sweet Snacks market.

Fuel prices - April 29, 2008

Results of this month's online poll:

Are you going to write to your MP about the CWCG's EDM?


Since the announcement last month about a raft of new proposals affecting the display and packaging of tobacco products as part of the Government's Cancer Reform Strategy - particularly targeting teenage smokers - tobacco manufacturers and trade associations have been busy trying to rally

In the surgery this month - Symonds forecourts Bedminster, Bristol and Bruton, Somerset

Jeremy Symonds, former boss of the Smile c-store group, which was sold last year to Martin McColl, is back. He has started a business - Symonds Forecourts - and has six sites all with c-stores, three trading as Simply Fresh and three as Country Market.


The current series of Database figures started with data from January 1996, although we had been regularly presenting statistics and accounting information in these pages for many years prior to that. Twelve years is a long time in any industry, let alone one that changes as frequently as petrol retailing, and we are reaching a point where this particular series is coming to a natural close.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

== Big Media, big bang ==

What a show!

The NEC was the place to be last month, when visitors flocked to the International Forecourt & Fuel Equipment (IFFE) Show. Event director Matthew Butler explains: "Visitor feedback has been excellent. Petrol retailers praised the exhibition for being the one place where they could catch up with important suppliers under one roof. There was specific praise for all the equipment on show; retailers found this really useful.

Boxing clever

Having a Tesco Express open just down the road from your site would have most independent retailers running for the hills.

Back of the net

Coca Cola Enterprises is giving away £1.5m-worth of prizes over the next few weeks, including trips to the finals of Euro 2008, JCV home entertainment systems worth up to £2,500 and European short break holidays.

Galaxy in the pink

Galaxy is supporting the launch of the new Sex and the City film with a £2.7m marketing campaign, including TV and press.

R&R invests £1m in Fab

R&R Ice Cream is spending £1m promoting Fab this year. The campaign is aimed specifically at mums and includes on-pack communication, online activity, advertising and sampling.

CTB does the Twist

Cadbury Trebor Bassett (CTB) has launched a new version of its Creme Egg.

Szechuan Sensations

Walkers has added an extra flavour to its Sensations range of crisps.

Windscreen cleaner tabs

UK distributor Shesto is making the Purgator range of windscreen washer system cleaning tabs available to UK

Ketchup makeover

Heinz has revamped its classic tomato ketchup design to raise awareness of the product's natural ingredients.

Awaken the Senses

Nestlé has got Girls Aloud to front its advertising campaign for new KitKat Senses.

Wrigley gets fresh

Wrigley has launched two new additions to its Extra brand; and the first fruity flavours for Orbit Complete.

Go with the Flow

Flow Control (GB) has launched a new fuel can which has a patented dispensing method aimed at speeding up the filling process without spillage or overfilling.

PG Tips takes green route

Unilever UK has introduced a green tea range to its PG Tips brand. The range is made up of PG Tips green tea, green tea lemon flavoured and green tea mint flavoured, with a rrp of £1.89 for a pack of 40 (with four packs per case).

Single-serve Spray

Ocean Spray is launching a single-serve bottle for its cranberry juice range.

Make some dough

Country Choice has relaunched its entire bread range, introducing 73 different bread varieties to the market.


To claim your Giveaway, simply write your name, address and telephone number on a postcard or sealed envelope stating what you want - Mission Foods, Wilkinson Sword, General Mills or Toblerone - and we'll do the rest, including delivery. Send it to us at Forecourt Trader, William Reed Business Media, Broadfield Park, Crawley, West Sussex RH11 9RT, by May 31.

Mission foods' latest wrap

Mission Foods is adding a new roasted red pepper variety to its Deli Wraps range, which joins the existing original, Mediterranean herb, multigrain and wheat & white.

wilkinson sword's Razor sharp offer

To celebrate the launch of Quattro Disposables - described as the world's first performance four-bladed disposable razors - Wilkinson Sword is giving away five packs of female and male Quattro Disposables to Forecourt Trader readers.

summer ice cream

General Mills UK is giving forecourt retailers the opportunity to refresh their sales this summer with its new Limited Edition Häagen-Dazs raspberries & meringue ice cream.

Toblerone goes nutty

A 35g Fruit & Nut countline bar is the latest addition to the Toblerone range. It combines the original recipe of Swiss milk chocolate, honey and almond nougat with whole raisins.

Geared up for biofuels

Pipework and tanks specialists PetroTechnik and Cookson & Zinn (CZ) have announced that they are both ready for the move to biofuels.

Get green rewards

A Staffordshire-based company is selling a range of automatic recycling machines which reward consumers for recycling.

WashTec workshop

WashTec is running a series of maintenance and marketing workshops this June and July, aimed at retailers who run car washes. The events aim to increase sales for legitimate vehicle washing sites and "create centres of vehicle washing excellence" in the UK.Topics include equipment maintenance, local marketing and dealing with unregulated sites.

Manage your fuel

US software and services firm FuelQuest is launching in the UK via its European headquarters in Manchester.


A few months ago I was musing over whether the concept of loyalty could be applied to the forecourt industry. At the time my comments were mainly focused on our customers and whether loyalty cards per se were a worthwhile proposition. Of course, the other side of the coin is the relationship we have with our suppliers, when we are the customers.