Forecourt Trader
Retailer gloom as fuel volumes fall

Gloomy predictions of a further cull in the number of forecourts is echoing around petrol retailing network as high fuel prices in particular and the credit crunch in general have hit fuel sales. Paul Sykes, MD of Huddersfield-based Shaws Petroleum Ltd, said the past eight weeks had seen volumes on his

Cloud with a silver lining

Well, sorry for the gloomy lead story, but that seems to be the shape of things in many people's eyes. The continuous financial onslaught on the motorist, coupled with the general economic outlook, seems to be catching up with sales at the pump.

Taking stock

Record fuel prices have caused plenty of headaches for retailers in recent months, so it's easy for wet stock management to fall down the list of priorities.

withdrawal symptons

Hardly a month goes by without there being a story in the news about cash machines. One of the funniest was the one about a German man who was worried about identity fraud - so worried in fact that he wouldn't use an ATM. However the day he decided to use one he got arrested - on suspicion of identity fraud. It seems he spent so long looking for hidden cameras and other evidence that the machine had been tampered with that his behaviour prompted other would-be users to call the police. That, of course, is an amusing tale but all too often the stories are not funny at all as they catalogue ram raids and other attempts to steal cash.

Competition time

When it comes to food to go, who do you class as your competition? The Tesco down the road or the Greggs in town? The answer of course is that both of them are your competitors but it doesn't end there. Competition in fact ranges from the packed lunch made at home to the burger picked up from the McDonald's drive thru. It's a worrying thought, but being aware of what the competition is up to can help you build your business. You can 'borrow' ideas or simply adapt your offer to complement theirs.

Co-op signs up for Texaco on 19 sites

Chevron is to provide Texaco-branded fuel for 19 members of the Co-operative Retail Trading Group (CRTG), the UK's largest consumer co-operative. Clive Adamson, head of petrol and post offices at the Co-op Group said: "Chevron's Texaco brand is well known on the forecourt and we arepleased to

Tobacco display ban warning

UK retailers must take part in the latest tobacco consultation and defend their right to display tobacco or suffer the severe consequences of lost business, Dave Bryans, president of the Canadian Assocation of Convenience Stores, has warned. Canada's most densely populated province - Ontario - 'went dark' in May, as part of a national

Operator hurt in knife attack

The owner of a Power-branded filling station ended up in hospital after trying to fight off two knife-wielding robbers last month. The robbers struck at 11.10pm at the Highfields, Leicester, filling station. The owner, who is not being named, managed to hit one of the robbers on the head, but suffered serious cuts to his hand

ACS urges stores to focus on standards

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has responded to the government's latest consultation on alcohol policy by urging members to focus on practical measures that drive

in brief

Health and safety experts have welcomed a report into the Buncefield disaster, calling for a review of the current planning system for land use around major hazard sites. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) said it supported, in principle, the findings of 'Recommendations on land use planning and the control of societal risk around major hazard sites' and agrees there is a need for a more cohesive system which takes into account risk to society as a whole.

Fuel Prices - July 29, 2008

Results of this month's online poll:

In the light of soaring card charges, would you consider terminating your Arval contract unless there is a review of the current fee structure in the near future?

Crunch time

If you've noticed your fuel sales are noticeably down on last year, you're not alone. Retailers around the country are reporting a significant drop in volume - and those with sites in the north are seemingly the worst hit.

In the surgery this month - Bride Valley Motors, Winterborne Abbas, Dorset

GENERAL APPEARANCE: On the A35 about five miles west from Dorchester and on the road to Bridport is Winterborne Abbas. On the right at the entrance to the village I found my target, Bride Valley Motors. It's an impressive site which includes a BP forecourt, KeyStore shop, car sales, service and repairs, and also incorporates Dorset Discount Tyres.

Auditors calling

Despite operating as limited companies, many smaller independent dealers have escaped the need to have their annual accounts subjected to formal statutory or Companies Act audit scrutiny and reporting over the past few years. They've been able to take refuge under what appeared to be the quite generous Audit Exemption Threshold for small companies. This meant that if their turnover was below £5.6m in the year to March 2008, and they employed no more than 50 staff, they could forget about a formal audit. Indeed, the exemption threshold was raised in the last Budget to £6.5m for financial years beginning on or after April 6, 2008, and no doubt a few smaller dealers breathed a sigh of relief and thought that they could ignore the issue for another year. Maybe some of them still can. No doubt there will also be a few readers who've only been in this dealer business for a couple of years, having perhaps spent a long time in the forecourt trade as site managers or commission operators, and having set up as limited companies, haven't actually needed an audit in the time they've been working for themselves.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

== Chip, chip, chip ==

rings of confidence

BP may not be at the top of everyone's Christmas card list following what many described as an "immoral margin cut", announced rather tactlessly by email around the time its record profits were revealed in April.

driving appeal

Total has not looked back since calling time on its long-running Tops promotion 18 months ago, and believes its current creative programme of short-term promotions is proving far more effective than its loyalty scheme in driving up sales and capturing the interest of motorists.

Chris Mitchener

== Will the changes in the law in Scotland affect my store in England or Wales? ==

Carsley: chilling with Daikin

The Carsley Group has invested in a Daikin Conveni-Pack cooling, refrigeration and heating system for its Cromwell Services convenience store.

Total freezer deal

Total Refrigeration says its Vista 12 ice cream freezer is more than 30% more energy efficient than its predecessor.

Displays that pay their way

Display design and manufacturer AG Neovo has launched a high-end SX and RX range of security specific monitors.

Duracell powers up

Duracell is expecting to shake up the battery category with its biggest innovation for 10 years - a technological reformulation bringing improved power and performance to its battery range.

Kit Kat double act

Nestlé is replacing its Kit Kat Chunky with a two-piece bar called Chunky Duo. At the same time a new Chunky peanut Duo is being added to the range. Recommended retail price for both products is 58p.

Live the dream with Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola Enterprises is celebrating its 80th year of involvement in the Olympics with an on-pack promotion on Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Zero.

Red Bull flying high

Red Bull Cola is already a big hit in forecourts. According to AC Nielsen data the 355ml can, which was launched in April, has shot to the number 19 spot in the list of single serve soft drink SKUs.

Terry's cosmic launch

Kraft Foods is launching a limited edition Terry's Chocolate Orange cosmic crunch bar.

Revels flavours go to a vote

Revels consumers are currently able to vote out their least favourite flavour which will be replaced by a mystery new one.

It's the Weatherman

Danone Waters has launched a Weatherman service for independent retailers comprising a weekly email detailing the week's weather forecast as well as bottled water sales predictions.

The choice is theirs

Walkers has teamed up with leading chef, Heston Blumenthal, for its latest promotion.

Big brands get refreshed

Two of Imperial Tobacco's top brands - Golden Virginia and Windsor Blue - are available in new-look packs.

Totally tropical new look Lilt

Lilt is being relaunched with new packaging and new advertising focusing on the 'Totally tropical taste' of the drink.

Bread with extras

Délifrance has added four Omega 3 breads to its catering range.

Esso goes for Mobil

ExxonMobil is moving to a 100% Mobil offering in its Esso forecourts.

Bic adds value to lighters

Bic is adding a range of lighter cases to its range.

Tubs of flavour

Fredericks Dairies has added two new Cadbury ice cream tubs to its range, which it says will continue to strengthen the brand's position in a market currently worth more than £33m.

juicy activity

Ribena, the UK's number one juice drink, is celebrating summer with its biggest ever on-pack promotion.

Bon appetit with st dalfour

St Dalfour French Bistro is a range of meal solutions which can be enjoyed any time either straight from the pack or as the basis for a variety of dishes. St Dalfour, also known for its fruit spreads, uses a sealing system called the Optimal Process, which enables food to be packed into containers in a deep vacuum. This ensures a product free from chemicals, additives or artificial ingredients as well as a long shelf life.

Swan's big celebration

The Swan brand is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, and to celebrate this milestone it has launched an on-pack promotion to drive consumer sales.

How to enter giveaways

To claim your Giveaway, simply write your name, address and telephone number on a postcard or sealed envelope stating what you want - Fredericks Dairies, Ribena, St Dalfour or Swan - 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 August 29.


Credit cards. Can't live without them, but can we afford to live with them?