Forecourt Trader
ACS hits out at business rate hike

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has hit out at the government’s decision to increase business rates in April 2009 by 5%. The ACS said the government wrote to Billing Authorities earlier this month informing them of the rise. The rise was calculated on September’s Retail Price Index (RPI) rate, at the height of the market, which has since

Bank Machine celebrates 10th anniversary

This month marks the 10th anniversary of the first independent cash ATM being installed in the UK. The cash machine was installed by Bank Machine in a Spar store in Birmingham, creating a market that it says has been one of the fastest growing of the last decade.

New venue for APEA 2009

APEA, the conference, exhibition and awards event run by the Association for Petroleum & Explosives Administration, is moving to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for 2009. Next year’s event will be held on October 15th at the Jaguar Exhibition Hall, which the group says offers more than 3,000 square

Exxonmobil to invest £1bn in cleaner burning diesel

ExxonMobil is set to invest more than $1 billion in three refineries to boost supply of cleaner burning diesel by about six million gallons per day. ExxonMobil Refining and Supply will construct new units and modify existing facilities at its refineries in Baton Rouge

Tobacco ban proposals branded anti-competitive


Tobacco display ban announced


Diesel drops to under £1 a litre


New partnership deal for Gulf and Arval

Gulf Retail and fleet and fuel management specialist Arval, have entered into a new partnership agreement that will see the continued

Jonathan James to trial M&S franchise


ACS welcomes government alcohol crackdown


Fuel sales up at Morrisons

Fuel sales at Morrisons are up 5.4%, according to its quarter three results, contributing to an overall sales increase of 14.9%.

Greenergy doubles fuel capacity in Scotland


Chevron may sell some refineries


VAT cut will see retailer costs rise

The VAT and duty changes outlined in the Pre-Budget Report look set to cause a retailer hangover that will last well into the New Year.

Give and take

With well-known high street names collapsing like a pack of cards at what should be their busiest time of year - and as we're still suffering the after-shocks of the failure of the big banking institutions -it's anyone's guess where it will all end. But certainly by all accounts the Government's pre-budget announcements have not done anything to reassure the nation. They have been likened to 'moving the deckchairs on the Titanic'. In other words, whichever way you look at it, we still seem to be sinking. If everyone had a job and a huge pay rise maybe things would be different. But why would anyone suddenly go out on a spending spree just to save a few pence here and there, when they haven't actually got any money, and anyway they've already been spending money they haven't got - and that's the big problem. In terms of fuel it's literally a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other - with loads of bother for the retailer in between. Some comfort for the petrol retailing business though is that people do NEED food and fuel - it's not a case of WANT. I don't know anyone who 'wants' to go onto a forecourt to buy fuel, but they have to (especially if they want to get to work, to earn money, to spend it, to save 2.5% on the VAT!). That makes them a captive audience and gives retailers the opportunity to win them over with a good service.

Five-star sites

Tates Spar Battlefield, Shropshire, opened 18 months ago and is Tates' flagship site. It recently got a new store manager, Sharon Stanley, who took over from David Hammond after he was promoted internally.

the x-tra factor

== Site with a licence to sell alcohol ==

Altered images

When it comes to running a car wash in the Noughties, it's all about image.

Hop to it

Last Easter was not the best one for retailers and that's because it came really early. Consequently sales were down. However the good news for next Easter is that it's three weeks later with Easter Sunday on April 12. So that gives you 21 extra days to sell chocolate eggs. And despite the credit crunch with consumers watching what they spend, chocolate is a treat that will still be affordable for most people. And it seems that even those watching their waistlines throw caution to the wind at Easter time. Indeed new research commissioned by Mars has found that Easter is the most permissible time of year for eating chocolate.

Skin deep

Within your convenience store, health and beauty items probably fall way down your list of priorities. After all they're not a daily purchase or even a major footfall driver. However they do matter if you want your store to be a one-stop shop. Yes, serious shoppers will go to Boots or Superdrug and most other people will get their regular supplies from the supermarkets, but there will always be distress purchase occasions when the shaving foam or shampoo has run out.

Kit Kat's big breaks

Nestlé Confectionery is running three Kit Kat promotions in 2009, featuring 52 million prizes. It will be backing the Kit Kat brand with a £16m media campaign - £2m more than this year - and a claim this is the biggest-ever media spend on confectionery. The first promotion - Perfect Break - kicks off in January, and has a prize fund of £1m. There are three tiers of prizes - 10 top prizes

Rustlers gets facelift

Kepak Convenience Foods has given its Rustlers range a facelift.

Wintermans' global control

Henri Wintermans Cigars UK is bringing the distribution of its Café Crème Cigar range in-house from next month.

Airwaves' big deals

Airwaves has become the official chewing gum sponsor of the World Rally Championships as well as the main sponsor of the Plymouth Raiders basketball team.

Evian detoxes again

Evian is planning to bring back its New Year detox campaign next month.

Red Bull gets monthly mag

Red Bull has teamed up with The Independent to roll out a monthly lifestyle magazine.

Silk Cut adds style

This month sees Gallaher add a menthol cigarette to its Silk Cut range.

Festive sandwich

Ginsters has introduced a limited-edition Christmas sandwich.

Le Mans winner on show at IFFE 2009

Visitors to the International Forecourt & Fuel Equipment (IFFE) show 2009, which is being held at the Birmingham NEC from March 1-3, will get to see Gulf's Le

IT crash leaves BP dealers fuming

Hundreds of BP dealers were forced to work through the night after a system crash knocked out its credit card terminals. Retailers said the glitch,

BP adds 11 Moto sites

BP is adding eleven Moto sites to its network by the end of next month.

Retailers get their own Question Time

Forecourt and convenience retailers came out in force last month to attend the inaugural Heart of the Community Seminar organised by the Association of

Susie's pet project for Christmas time

Budgens and Londis stores have been getting into the Christmas spirit by creating their own hampers for the festive season.

in brief

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed the publication of a revised Tackling Tobacco Smuggling Strategy which outlines the reorganisation of enforcement against smugglers between the UK Border Agency and HMRC. But it warned there was a need for significant new funding and targets to reduce the market share of illegal tobacco.

Fuel prices - November 26, 2008

Results of this month's online poll:

Has the sharp drop in fuel prices caused any problems for your business?

Starting Over

It's only a matter of weeks since GNE Group announced it had completed the sale of its fuel retailing subsidiary, Petrol Express.

In the surgery this month - Texaco/Star Market Service Station, Chepstow, Gwent

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Located just off the A48/A466 Larkfield roundabout on one of the main roads to Chepstow town centre is the joint-branded Texaco/Star Market service station. It includes an impressive Countrywide store that has recently undergone a refit.

It's darkest just before dawn

It was good (as always) to read November's Mo'gas column where he quite rightly pointed out that the typical petrol retailer isn't competing with the likes of M&S or Waitrose. And that's because, in effect, the customers using petrol stations do so because they have to - and that therefore this industry shouldn't suffer quite as much as some others during this economic winter. It would be even better if we could follow that up with some heartening figures to provide some relief in this season of good cheer. Unfortunately we can't. Database is producing the worst figures in many years and there's no sign of improvement.

Service Centre with Jac Roper

== Screen savers? We have some solutions ==

Winning formula

Wow what a season for avid followers of Formula One motor racing - and, come to that, even those who are not remotely interested in motor racing, but are just grateful to see somebody British winning anything at all. And so it was that - up to 13.1 million of us in the UK according to TV reports - were sitting glued to our seats on Sunday November 2 watching the final gripping moments of the Brazilian Grand Prix and what is being touted as one of the most dramatic finishes to an F1 world championship.

PIN protector unveiled

A Portsmouth-based company is launching a new piece of equipment designed to protect retailers from credit card cloning. Pin Protect says its Pin-Defender units aim to "eliminate the weak point of Chip & PIN" by preventing shoulder surfing, covert cameras and viewing or tampering with point-of-sale card readers or PIN entry pads by rogue members of staff.

Energy savings

Original Equipment has launched refrigeration management device CoolerSave which it says cuts in-store energy costs.

Car wash promoter

Wilcomatic has launched a new online facility aimed at boosting the business of its car wash customers.

Soaking up spills

Ixtar has extended its product range to include two varieties of absorbent granules that are ideal for clearing away any garage spillage.


To claim your Giveaway, simply write your name, address and telephone number on a postcard or sealed envelope stating what you want - Varta, Ribena, Swan or Premier Foods - 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 December 31.

Leading light

Battery manufacturer Varta is teaming up with Wales Rally GB (running from December 4-7) to provide all 4,500 event marshals with a Varta Dynamo Light wind-up torch - a green link-up which the company says will save over 36,000 batteries from going to landfill. The company says the hardy, waterproof torches are an ideal solution for the event's volunteer marshals - as many of the races take place in the Welsh forests.

Ribena's bottle offer

GlaxoSmithKline reckons it is set to attract new drinkers with the launch of Ribena strawberry in a 500ml bottle.

Fab Festive freebies

Premier Foods says it is promoting its leadership in festive foods with a Christmas Made Easy campaign. According to the company, it has all the key ingredients to create a successful Christmas for everyone, from cakes and treats for the run up to the big day, to products for the all-important Christmas Day meal, and accompaniments to liven up leftovers,


So the question is where is the dividing line between stubborn resistance and futile gesture? And at what stage, if ever, does dogged determination cross over into a reckless inability to accept reality?