Forecourt Trader
Top 50 Indie MRH (GB) joins RMI Petrol

RMI Petrol has signed up Top 50 Indie MHR (GB) Ltd as one of its newest members. The organisation, formally the Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA), said it was delighted to welcome

Shell boosts its green credentials

Shell revealed this week it had introduced new energy-saving features at 200 petrol stations across the country in a bid to increase energy efficiency, cut carbon emissions and reduce energy costs. The company said the sites involved in the Shell EnergySave Sites programme were aiming to achieve an average drop in energy

Highs and lows of volcanic eruption

The Icelandic volcano eruption caused problems for some retailers – and unexpected opportunities for others. Whether sites were winners or losers depended on their location.

Cash is no longer king

New research by The Payments Council shows there have been massive changes in the last decade to the way we pay our

Retailers urged to contact Welsh Assembly over tobacco display ban consultation

Retailers have been urged to contact the Welsh Assembly Government after it launched a consultation over its proposals to ban tobacco displays in shops and prohibit sales of tobacco products from vending machines.

MPs asked to make local shops pledge

As the major parties unveil their election manifestos, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has written to parliamentary candidates across England and Wales to ask for their support in recognising the contribution that local shops make to communities

Ronson advice for election victor - don't penalise entrepreneurs

Whoever wins the next election should be careful not to put too much pressure on the people who can make a difference - the entrepreneurs - said

Shoppers want more choice in c-stores

Retailers need to offer a wider range of products if they want greater success with their business, according to a report from YouGov's business intelligence

New car market up 26.6% in March

New car sales for March were 26.6% up on the same period last year, at 397,383 registrations, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor

Fuel prices hit record high

Petrol prices hit a record average yesterday, with Experian Catalist reporting a figure of 120.13p for a litre of unleaded. According to the AA, in

Number of cars on road drops for first time since WW2

The number of cars on UK roads has fallen for the first time in 64 years, according to research by the Society of

Shadow Ministers urged to support retailers over Business Rates

RMI Petrol has been keeping up the pressure over Business Rates by asking

CWA garners Commons support

With the election looming, the Car Wash Association (CWA) has been lobbying parliament over proposed changes to the industry. The CWA, supported by the

Industry Events roundup

This month sees two trade shows being held for the industry in the UK. Pro Retail show takes place later this month at the International Centre in Telford,

Shoppers in favour of keeping Sunday Trading laws

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has warned that an overwhelming majority of the public do not want to see

Future of forecourts: 2020 vision

The future of forecourts is green, with offers of alternative energy, high levels of service – and the fuel pumps tucked away round the back of the shop.

Brulines buys ELS

Brulines Group plc this week announced it had completed the acquisition of Energy Level Systems Ltd (ELS), the UK distributor of OPW Fuel Management

Jonathan James starts £1.85m revamp

Jonathan James has finished the first phase of a £1.85m project to upgrade several of his sites in Cambridgeshire. Jonathan, operations director at retailer

Alvern seals nozzle deal with Waitrose and Co-op

Waitrose and The Co-operative have partnered with Alvern Media, the forecourt media specialist, to offer 89 new advertising sites.  The new sites will carry the government's Change4Life

Tobacco display ban update

The debate over the government's proposal to ban tobacco displays in shops continued to rage this week with Earl Howe formally objecting to the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display) (England) Regulations 2010.

April Fuels Day

It may be April 1, but Brian Madderson of RMI Petrol is not fooled by the government's attempt to bury the extent of today's tax-induced fuel price increases and lay the cause at retailers' doors. He has encouraged retailers to display notices on their counters showing how tax rises on fuel since January 1 have added 6ppl to the price of fuel. This is calculated by the VAT rise from 15% to 17.5%; today's duty increase of 2ppl ( which includes the decrease in duty incentive to refiners on biofuel production); and the resulting increased VAT paid overall due to the rising oil market prices.

Get involved

It's encouraging to see that petrol retailers aren't fighting their corner alone. Or so it would seem when you've got someone like Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, speaking as though he really understands the vulnerabilities of the service station business.

Keep fighting over rates, urges Dunne

MP Philip Dunne urged petrol retailers to keep on fighting against the "unfair" hikes they face in Business Rates, during his

Time to roll the dice

>> Visit the awards website for full information about this year's awards

Licky stars

According to Wall's Ice Cream, 60% of value sales of ice cream in forecourts come from chocolate snacks compared to 50% in other impulse channels. It seems whether it's white van man or Mr Mondeo the sales rep, they like their choccie even in the summer, when it has to be delivered in frozen form. That means you should be stocked up with Magnums and Mars ice creams.

Brand aid

During the recession there's been much talk about consumers turning their backs on big brands and opting for own-label versions of their favourite products instead. However this big switch has not been altogether successful. Some consumers have tried own-label, found it lacking, and gone back to brands while some brands have used promotions and the introduction of value ranges to hold onto their consumers. It seems the power of the brand should not be under-estimated and that's the reason why so many motorway services ally themselves with big brands think Burger King, KFC, M&S Simply Food and now Waitrose.

Fever pitch

T he 2010 World Cup, with its army of fans across the UK, will be a big sales winner for retailers. According to pundits, they should see a significant sales uplift, with shoppers reporting that they will be buying more beer, wine and spirits and snacks to consume during the event.

Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards start here

Get your cameras and pens out, and start filling in those forms this is where the competition for this year's Forecourt Trader of the Year award winners begins. The competition is open to all retailers whether you are an independent dealer with a large chain, or a small rural site; an oil company franchisee in a main road location; or a manager on an oil company-owned site, there is an opportunity for all categories of retailer to enter.

Site numbers reach a new Iow

The number of operational UK forecourts fell to 9,013 last year, according to the latest Retail Marketing Survey, conducted by the Energy Institute.

Budget dismissed as "smoke and mirrors"

Smoke and mirrors is how Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol, described the Budget. He said: "The Chancellor failed to mention that, in

Fuel back on track at NK

Pace Fuelcare have responded to the plight of NK Service Station in Princethorpe, Warwickshire, which scored a rather lowly 1.5 star rating in last month's Shop Doctor. A significant contributor to the low score was the fact the site had no fuel because there were insufficient funds to pay up front. However Pace Fuelcare says it has worked with the owners to arrive at a payment plan which is enabling the site to have regular fuel supplies.

Exelby Services keeps on trucking

Exelby Services, number 44 in the Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies list, is investing £5m in building a new truck stop on a 15-acre site at Leeming Bar in

It's a fair cup for Topaz

The theme of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight was 'The Big Swap' and now three lucky Topaz employees are swapping work for a week-long trip to Brazil. The three Charlie Fitzsimons from Dublin, Roland Mileika from Ashbourne, and Marti Kelly from New Ross won a competition to mark the successful sales of Topaz's fairtrade coffee.

Fuel prices - March 25, 2010
Results of this month's online poll:

How beneficial is it to your business to take time out to attend conferences, networking events and exhibitions such as IFFE?

in brief


Show stoppers

Retailers can expect to hear about any revisions in their Business Rates bills by the end of June. That was the message from Brian Madderson, RMI Petrol

In the surgery this month - Stans Superstore & Forecourt, St Martins, Shropshire

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Stans Superstore, located in the village of St Martins just off the A5 between Wrexham and Oswestry, is a phenomenal family-run independent enterprise. The Superstore is massive (28,000sq ft) and includes a wide range of fresh food, a gift shop, restaurant, garden centre and a significant range (some 80 lines) sourced from local suppliers. As part of its promotional campaign last year, Stans Superstore claimed it was selling the 'cheapest petrol in Britain'. This, in part, was achieved by money-off fuel coupons given when you spent certain amounts in the main store. My focus was the forecourt clearly identified by its Jet-branded pole.

Budget update

Budget 2010 part one

Help and advice from jac roper

Who sets the standards?

Simply the Best

Like many independent retailers, Brian Weedon likes to sell local products as well as have a major brand name above his store.

Showing you the way

One of the highlights for petrol retailers visiting this year's Pro-retail show will undoubtedly be the Mace forecourt store. This will be the first time that there will be such a store at the show. The idea is to show visitors "the magic that can be worked in under 700sq ft".

Wilcomatic uses IFFE '10 to launch the Tempest

Wilcomatic used this year's IFFE show to launch a new jet wash called the Tempest, as well as two vacuums and a new air and water tower.

A real time solution

Indigo Retail Technology has entered into a strategic partnership with Edensure, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brulines Group.

Handywash system

Car Wash UK launched its Safetveyr handywash automated hand car wash system at this year's IFFE show in Birmingham.

Istobal deal with MRH

Istobal has announced two major contracts with Top 50 Indie retailer MRH (GB) Ltd.

Get your Pizza Now

Food Now has introduced its Pizza Now vending machine which holds over 100 frozen pizzas.

Coke identifies huge soft drink sales opportunity

There is a £1.4bn growth opportunity in the soft drinks market according to Open More Business, Coca-Cola Enterprises' (CCE's) new category report. Great Britain's per capita soft drinks consumption is currently less than neighbouring countries, such as Ireland and Belgium, so CCE has identified this as a potential growth area. The company says that if each soft drinks' shopper bought one extra drink per fortnight, then it would meet that £1.4bn figure.

Energizer's new look

Energizer aims to simplify battery buying for consumers by using clear performance-related messages to make the category much easier to understand.

Kit Kat's cash prizes

Kit Kat Cross Your Fingers is the brand's biggest promotion for the year. Promotional packs of Kit Kat four finger milk, Chunky milk and Chunky caramel give consumers the chance to win £1,000 a day from May 3 to July 11.