Forecourt Trader
Morrison fuel mix-up

A mix-up by suppliers led to motorists at a forecourt in the West Midlands putting the wrong fuel in their tanks.

Calling all Northern fuel retailers

RMI Petrol is holding the first of three regional meetings next week following the success of its Forecourt Shows and sell-out Inverness event this year.

Tough times ahead after government cutbacks

Consumer spending is likely to be further curtailed next year following cutbacks announced in the government’s Spending Review yesterday.

First full refit for Brobot Petroleum Londis store

Brobot Petroleum, the family owned Top 50 Indie, has relaunched its first store to undergo a full redevelopment since partnering with Londis last June.  The newly developed site in Bunny is one of 22 sites in the Midlands owned by Brobot, all supplied by Londis.

Lack of bank funding hits forecourt property sector

One of the key factors within the forecourt property sector in 2010 has been the continued lack of available bank funding, according to Calum Campbell, partner Petroleum & Roadside Services at chartered surveyor Graham & Sibbald.

Shutters hot-wired in forecourt theft

Thieves hot-wired electric shutters on a Gloucestershire forecourt to get into the shop, then made off with £2,500-worth of cigarettes. The incident happened at Fromebridge Filling Station, on the A38 at Whitminster, earlier this month. It took the robbers less than three minutes to get in and out with the cigarettes. After hot-wiring the shutters, they shattered the main door, smashed open the tobacco cabinet and loaded the cigarettes into black bin bags.

GE acquires Dresser

GE has signed a contract to acquire Dresser Inc, the parent company of fuel dispenser manufacturer Dresser Wayne. Texas-based Dresser Wayne is one of the largest business units of Dresser Inc and a global leader in the design, manufacture and servicing of fuelling forecourt solutions, including dispensers, payment platforms and wet stock control systems.

ACS calls on goverment to prevent business rate hike

Local shops are calling on the government to act to prevent a 4.7% hike in business rates in April 2011. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers across the country simply can’t afford another hike in their business rates. The system for determining the rate of annual change in business rates is broken and Ministers must act.

Sainsbury's eco-friendly forecourt

Sainsbury’s newly-refurbished store in Darnley, Glasgow includes an eco-friendly petrol station. It aims to reduce energy use by 50% by employing more efficient technology, generating power from solar panels and maximising the use of rainwater.

Man banned from Tesco

A Hartlepool man has been banned from the town’s Tesco stores for six months after stealing food from one of its forecourt shops. Thirty-eight-year-old Martin John Clark, who has a drink problem, is now barred from all Tescos in Hartlepool after he went into the forecourt shop in Belle Vue Way and started filling his tracksuit top with food. He left without paying and was arrested. He admitted the offence and said that he ate the food that he’d stolen. He was sentenced to a six-month supervision order as well as the ban on entering any Tesco in Hartlepool.

Police release cctv pics of drive-off thief

Essex police have released CCTV images of a man they want to speak to in connection with three petrol thefts from BP Express, Cranfield Park Road, Wickford.

Car Wash Association
Car Wash Association launches campaign to tackle car wash problems

The Car Wash Association (CWA) is urging officials to act to improve car washing standards with the launch of a national campaign to raise awareness of the major problems affecting the industry.

Southam forecourt is vital pit stop for racers

Southam Total/Spar forecourt in Warwickshire became the focal point of Total’s annual MPG Marathon as the only allowed pit stop for racers to fill up their vehicles.

New Budgens forecourt claims UK first

A new Budgens forecourt has opened in Yeovil this week and will be the first in the UK to offer a media screen system at its petrol pumps.

Xmo Strata restructures to focus on dealer groups

Forecourt sign installation and maintenance contractor Xmo Strata has confirmed its recent restructuring was prompted by a decision to focus on dealer groups.

Fuel Prices - September 30, 2010
Plenty to talk about

Well done to all the winners at last month's Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards ceremony, particularly Bhupa, Lata and Jay Gohil, who took the top prize this year (see full report from page 43). It takes a lot of hard work, courage and determination to create and, more importantly, maintain a successful business, and the efforts of all those thriving in today's market cannot be underestimated.

Total's exit gets mixed response

Total UK has confirmed the potential sale of its entire UK marketing assets. These comprise its retail network; home heating oil business; Isle of Man operations; as well as its Jersey and Guernsey operations and associated logistics. It's a radical move with far-reaching consequences for the structure of the UK market, particularly as Murco is also up for sale. Total has around 500 company-owned sites and 300 dealers.

Gohils take top honour as Forecourt Trader of the Year

Bhupa, Lata and Jay Gohil of Cosford Garage, Albrighton in the West Midlands, took the top prize at last month's Forecourt Trader of the Year awards, held at the London Hilton on Park Lane Hotel.

Are you concerned that half the refineries in the UK are up for sale?

Yes 71%

Bishop converts to Harvest

Top 50 independent Bishop Retail is converting all its nine forecourts from BP to Harvest Energy. North East-based Bishop Retail group operations director, Darren MacDonald, said that while he expected fuel volumes to fall by 15-16% without the BP name on the pole sign, value sales were likely to stay the same with a favourable Harvest Energy deal. "We have a good relationship with BP but the deal they offered was not commercially viable for us," said MacDonald.

Customer service in petrol stations not up to scratch

Less than 1% of shoppers think petrol stations deliver good customer service, according to a poll by Retail Eyes. The National Customer Satisfaction survey of 5,712 UK shoppers revealed that only 0.8% of shoppers felt they got good service at forecourts.

MPK signs with Murco

Top 50 independent MPK Garages has signed a five-year supply agreement with Murco.

in brief


Jail for drug user who stole fuel to fund habit

A disabled drug user has been jailed for stealing petrol from outlets across the East Midlands to fund his drugs habit. Thirty-three-year-old Steven Argo used false number plates to rob 44 petrol stations across Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire, by driving off without paying. He sold jerry cans full of fuel at £10 a time so he could buy drugs, after stealing over £1,800-worth of fuel over two years.

Forecourts warned over fuel sales to youths

Three South Lanarkshire forecourts have received formal warnings after petrol was sold to an under-age volunteer during a test-purchasing exercise. The sales were made to a 14-year-old, who was carrying out test purchases on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council's Consumer and Trading Standards Service.

P&H Local backed by big sales force

Palmer & Harvey has added a 60-strong sales force for the launch of its P&H Local wholesale offer to retailers.

Sam's a real Spar Winner

An aptly-named customer of BP Ivy Garage in Trowbridge, Wiltshire has won a £1,500 holiday prize in a competition that was held in hundreds of Spar convenience stores throughout the South West.

Total withdrawal

There have been many oil company comings and goings over the years, but Total's announcement last month about its decision to sell up is unprecedented in terms of oil company exits from the UK.

Sickleholme Service Station, Bamford, Derbyshire

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Sickleholme Service Station near Bamford occupies a dominant corner site at the junction of the A625 and A6013 in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak District.

The taxman cometh?

Hard on the heels of recent moves by HMRC (Revenue and Customs) affecting several million PAYE taxpayers who had innocently believed that they'd already paid all their tax, only to find some unwelcome brown envelopes arriving in their post, come rumours from some tax specialists that the taxman's next target will be small and medium businesses.

Help and advice from Jac Roper


Down memory lane

The names Robert and Hugh Fraser, Susie Hawkins, Jonathan James, Karl Brocklehurst and Philip Tout probably sound familiar. They're all past winners of the Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards, but there's something else or rather someone else that links these highly successful petrol retailers.

Business as usual

It's been a couple of months now since the Arkansas-based Murphy Oil Corporation announced board-of-director approval for plans to exit the refining business. Two American refineries and one in the UK at Milford Haven, Wales along with what was described as the "retail system" were put up for sale. The reason, according to the company's president and chief executive officer David Wood: "Murphy's upstream and US retail businesses have demonstrated marked growth and financial performance over the past several years. By exiting the refining business, we can fully focus our attention and resources on continuing that growth." Since then there has been much speculation, and not a sniff of confirmation, about who and how it would be sold. Murphy Oil anticipates a transaction being completed in the first quarter of 2011. Goldman, Sachs & Co is serving as exclusive financial advisor to Murphy during this process.

Smoke alarm

Up to 17% of cigarettes and 54% of handrolling tobacco used in the UK is smuggled. That's one of the headline messages to retailers from tobacco firm JTI's new Tobacco Smuggling report.

System support

According to the experts, many forecourt retailers are not using their epos systems to their full potential. Steve Watts, sales director at Torex Petroleum and Convenience, is one of those experts. He says: "We have been working hard with our customers to ensure that reducing queues and increasing margins are top of the agenda. We have been holding free consultative reviews and have achieved some remarkable results. It has proved that, where the functionality allows, by using their epos to manage their business rather than just to add up numbers, it can significantly improve margins and increase customer spend."

Xmas list

There are loads of special festive lines around this year to add excitement to your displays.

Share options

With its relatively low price point and feel-good factor, the chocolate confectionery category is more than holding its own in the forecourt shop. According to IRI data, the chocolate confectionery category in the convenience channel is now worth £1.3bn and growing by 3% year-on-year.

Automechanika 2010: a showcase of technology

A mind-boggling array of the latest developments in service station and car wash technology was featured at Automechanika 2010, which took place last month in Frankfurt, Germany. It is a mammoth exhibition which describes itself as "the leading international trade fair for the automotive industry". It claims to beat the size of the world's biggest motor shows the total fair covers 305,000sq m and this year broke records by attracting 155,000 visitors from 180 different countries.

JTI boosts its 14s range

JTI is launching 14s packs of its Mayfair and Silk Cut cigarettes, which will join the existing Benson & Hedges Gold and Silver 14s, to create a new range. Mayfair 14s will be available nationally from the beginning of this month, with Silk Cut 14s following later in the year.

Bueno's big break

To tie in with the DVD launch of Sex & The City 2, Kinder Bueno is running an on-pack promotion giving consumers the chance to win the ultimate girls' night out in London. Designed to boost sales of Kinder Bueno Classic and Kinder Bueno White, the on-pack promotion runs on single and multipacks until December 31. There will be one winner selected each week for 10 weeks.

It's raining tenners

Consumers can win £10 by guessing when it's going to rain in Walkers' new Rainy Days promotion. In addition, points can be collected from packs of crisps and redeemed online ( against a range of weatherproof activities. The Rainy Days promotion is being supported by a multi-million pound marketing campaign including a tongue-in-cheek TV ad featuring Gary Lineker doing an '80s-inspired dance routine. Also backing the promotion is point-of-sale material including stackers, wobblers and shelf-edge strips.

Mini Rolls get smaller

The latest addition to the Cadbury Cake Bites range is Cadbury Mini Mini Rolls. These smaller versions of the Mini Roll comprise chocolate sponge with a vanilla cream swirl smothered in Cadbury Milk Chocolate.

HP's saucy new look

HP Sauce is getting new packaging to highlight its versatility and different usage occasions.

Animal bar in impulse

Nestlé Confectionery is launching its Animal Bar in an impulse format after a successful trial earlier this year. The launch, on November 1, is said to be in response to increasing consumer demand for small portions. And according to IRI data, Animal Bar in an impulse format has helped the brand grow by 35% year-to-date.

Meals at the ready

Princes is entering the canned ready meals market with an eight-strong range. The meals include chicken in white wine sauce; mild chicken curry; hot chicken curry; chilli con carne; hot chilli con carne; and vegetable curry.

Kettle's new line up

New Kettle Ridge Crisps combine a crispy ridged texture with big, bold flavours. They are available in sharing-sized bags (150g), aimed at a slightly younger audience than the core Kettle Chips range. Rrp is £1.59. There are four flavours: flamed steak, cheese & onion, spicy chilli and salt & malt vinegar.

Extra's sampling drive

Wrigley's Extra Chewy Mints are the subject of an extensive sampling programme that's taking place all this month to drive trial and "purchase intent" among key consumers. More than 3.7million consumers will be targeted.

Softmints on forecourts

Cadbury is running an outdoor advertising campaign for Trebor Softmints. In addition, the brand is advertising at forecourts on petrol pumps, door media and on screens.

Uncle Joe's refresh

Confectionery company Uncle Joe's has unveiled new look packaging for its Mint Balls and Favourites range. Favourites include winter nips, pear drops and strawberry bon bons.