Forecourt Trader
Total pleads guilty to Buncefield charges

Total UK has pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to charges relating to the Buncefield

Shell backs down over poppy ban

Shell has reversed its ban on poppy appeal collections at its petrol stations. The oil company has also apologised to any customers upset by its original decision not to allow the collection boxes to be put on display at its sites. The announcement came after reports that forces veterans were threatening to boycott Shell over the ban.

Calls to toughen up on forecourt crime

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for retailers to get equal treatment with doctors and nurses when those convicted of violent attacks

Total rolls out LPG

Total has revealed it is adding new LPG facilities at five of its company-owned forecourts due to the increased popularity of LPG in previously converted sites. The oil company said

Amscreen and TomTom team up

TomTom and digital signage company Amscreen have announced a sponsorship deal aimed at providing millions of motorists with up-to-date traffic information via TomTom’s HD Traffic.

Brits get their thirst back for bottled water

Bottled water sales have suffered in recent years with the credit crunch causing consumers to revert to tap water. However, Mintel says its latest

Park Garage Group up for business award

Park Garage Group has been nominated for one of the prestigious Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards, an annual event which celebrates Asian business achievement

Someone out to get you?

This seems to be one of those times (there have been others!) when everything comes to a head, and petrol retailers could be forgiven for thinking someone's out to get them. This month's issue kicks off with the expected, but nevertheless, grim news about business rates. It seems to hit the majority of retailers right where it hurts because those in the three to seven mlpa category bear a "disproportionate burden", according to one forecourt rating specialist. Shop sales are capped at £2 million, working nicely in favour of the supermarket operators. Great.

Retailers fear outcome of rate review

Retailers are bracing themselves for significant business rate hikes after the new rateable values were issued by the

One Hull of a team

Ask most people to point out the exact position of Hull on a map and their fingers will probably waver somewhere vaguely over the north east. "We're 60 miles from anywhere really," admits Patrick Sewell, managing director of family-run Sewell Retail, which is based in the city.

Cutting crime

The run up to Christmas is usually far from a holiday for retailers. These are the busiest few weeks of the year for sales but the festive season also means an increase in some negative aspects of the business such as crime.

Fuel drivers

Time was when automotive fuel led a relatively simple life flowing in and out of various tanks without too much concern for its contents. Then the lead was taken out. Then the sulphur. Then came a complex web of eco-driven legislation which is currently driving many of those concerned to among other things sigh rather dramatically when questioned on the subject.

Sales surge

Ask any convenience store retailer who is open on Christmas Day what his customers are buying and all will mention batteries. The run up to Christmas is definitely the season for buying batteries to power all those toys and MP3 players and remote controls. Your forecourt might not be open on Christmas Day but you can definitely cash in by making sure you're in stock and ready for the pre- and post-Christmas rush.

Delivering the goods

Seventy thousand lines across more than 40 categories is what Palmer & Harvey's Plus Extra third-party drop-shipment scheme offers forecourt retailers.

Watford Gap Services turns 50

Watford Gap Services turned 50 today, celebrating by selling cups of tea at 1959 prices – and even getting its own musical. The infamous site was the UK's first motorways service area when it

Top food award for Tebay Services

Tebay Motorway Service Station has gained a top food award – the British Academy of Gastronomes' annual Grand Prix of Gastronomy. The Grand Prix is

Plans for Buncefield

Total UK has submitted plans to Dacorum and St Albans Borough Councils to rebuild the remaining part of the Buncefield oil complex in Hemel

Unseen peril of signage work

Retail managers are dangerously underestimating the health and safety risks of sign installation and maintenance and their own liability,

PGG success in Ben Nevis climb

A team of intrepid walkers from Park Garage Group (PGG) have raised £6,000 with a sponsored climb up Ben Nevis.

in brief

UKPIA rural warning

Redevelopment drives growth at Euro Garages

Euro Garages has reported a 5% year-on-year rise in fuel and retail sales

Total cards are first to be used at M6 Toll

Total is the UK's first petrol retailer whose fuel cards can be used on the M6

Sultan's new site goes with a swing

Bexhill Garage on Barnhorn Road in Bexhill-on-Sea has recently re-opened as a Jet site after standing derelict for five years.

New Express sites for Spar

Spar has launched a new shop concept called Spar Express on six forecourts in

Results of this month's online poll:

Do you find current practices in the newspaper and magazine distribution industry restrictive to the development of this area of your business?

Dark forces at work

The next two months will help shape the future of tobacco retailing. Retailers

In the surgery this month – Williams Garage, Otterbourne, Hants

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Otterbourne is a village just north of Eastleigh and south of Winchester. In the centre of the village is a thriving enterprise that offers services from a forecourt with shop and post office, through to MOT testing, vehicle hire and even scuba diving! The MOT and service bays, forecourt and shop were busy.

Staff matters

Are all your employees entitled to work here?

Help and advice from jac roper

How clean are your tanks?

A Star is born

What has been touted as the most exciting project for the Texaco brand in 10 years has now come to fruition in Cardiff. St Mellons Service Station on Newport Road has became one of the first locations worldwide for the launch of Chevron's new Texaco forecourt image.

Indigo Retail's solution for Big Media screens

Mabco Petroleum has been working with Indigo Media to find a way of using its former Big Media Group screen. The screen at the retailer's Lancashire Hill site in Stockport was left redundant after Big Media went into voluntary liquidation. According to Indigo Retail, Mabco managing director Usman Patel spoke to the epos technology provider about the problem and discovered he was able to run content using the existing screen and PC for less than £50 a month (after the initial set-up fee).

Moto cashes in

Moto Hospitality has appointed G4S Cash Services to provide cash collection and delivery services. The three year contract started this summer making G4S the sole provider to Moto's 58 sites.

One size fits all

UK POS has launched an Independent Point Of Sale Starter Kit as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.

Festive chiller tips

Geoff Thomasson (pictured below), chief executive of chiller company Husky, has these festive chiller tips:

A real winter warmer

Pantheon has recommended that retailers invest in its heavy duty PSK soup kettle this winter.

Chocoholic Brits chomp through the credit crunch

Sweet-toothed Brits spends more money on chocolate than any other country in Europe, according to research from Mintel's Global Market Navigator (GMN), which revealed that the UK consumed £3.5bn-worth of chocolate last year. Only Germany, which has 20 million more people than the UK, came close to our spend with £3.4bn in 2008.

Give Red Bull a shot

Red Bull has become the latest manufacturer to launch an energy shot.

It's a kind of magic

Lindt has launched its new Magical Milk Bar for Christmas 2009. Aimed at shoppers looking for stocking fillers or just an indulgent treat, Lindt says the bar is filled with "a luxurious and creamy milk filling". With a rrp of 69 for a 40g bar, the product comes in outers of 24.

Powering ahead

Powerade is running an on-pack promotion giving away iPod Shuffles. Coca-Cola Enterprises says the move is designed to get customers exercising as part of their partnership with the Great Events Series and Take to the Streets.

Easter Smartie pants

Nestlé Confectionery is adding a retro Smarties egg to its range for next Easter, complete with a mug. Graham Walker, Nestlé UK trade communications manager, says: "In tough times consumers are reassured by products that they remember from when they were young."

Mars and FA team up

Mars is sponsoring the England football team. The five-year deal initially sees the Mars brand become the Official Supplier to England until July 2010, when it will become a Supporter of the England team.

Hitting the target

Target Energy Shots has launched a new pink product aimed at the younger female market.

Taking the tube route

Reckitt Benckiser has introduced a new design for Strepsils, which it says is its first product aimed at the impulse market.

Wrestle that cold

GSK is throwing some hefty investment behind its new Beechams Ultra All In One range, including a TV ad with sumo wrestlers representing cold and flu symptoms.

£1 gifting tubes

Hancocks has launched three varieties of sweet tubes to retail at £1. The company says the exclusive tubes of dolly mix, mini allsorts and jelly beans give retailers a 31% margin.

Voltz deal

Voltz has signed a deal with franchisor Card Connection, which means the energy drink brand will now be delivered to 15,000 retail outlets nationwide, including Spar and Shell.

Limited-edition gift packs

Southern Comfort is backed by new TV advertising celebrating its New Orleans' roots. Limited-edition gift packs will also be available exclusively for independent retailers.

Charging ahead for Christmas

Portable power has become an essential element of everyday life for consumers across the UK, according to Duracell. The company says that the way this power is consumed is critical in understanding the evolution of the battery marketplace, while retailers need to remember that more than 40% of their annual battery sales will take place in the run up to Christmas.

Toffees up for grabs

To create awareness of the Walkers Nonsuch range of toffees, the company is giving away five cases each containing 48 x 150g bags of traditional toffee.

Easy-fill is the easy option

The Easy-fill can has been specially designed to prevent over-filling of fuel tanks and other equipment.