Forecourt Trader
One in five c-shoppers use c-stores every day

Almost a fifth of people (17%) who use convenience stores shop there at least once a day, according to latest research from food and grocery experts IGD.

Frasers fight snow to open sixth forecourt

Former Forecourt Trader of the Year the Fraser Group has just opened its sixth forecourt and its first site with a Budgens store.

Alcohol licensing reform could cause "trouble" for forecourts

Forecourt retailers with a licence to sell alcohol are being warned that “there may be trouble ahead” if new government proposals become law.

Madderson gives more weight to duty escalator plea

RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson has today written to the government urging a halt on the fuel duty escalator and warning of people becoming hostile to the level of price increases expected in January.

Residents sick after fuel leak

Environmental health teams and fire-fighters were called in when over 50 homes were filled with petrol fumes after 600 litres of fuel escaped from a leaking tank next to a school.

Forecourt store is star of Nisa's first ever TV ad

An independent forecourt in the northeast of England has become the location for Nisa-Today’s first ever TV advert.

Park Garage group leases new site in Cardiff

A forecourt in Cardiff has been let to Park Garage Group, the Croydon-based Top 50 Indie. The site is located on Hadfield Road, near to the new football stadium.

Get ready for new VAT rates, warns HMRC

Businesses are being urged to get ready for January’s VAT rise. The standard rate of VAT goes up from 17.5% to 20% on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. Jim Harra, director of CT & VAT at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), said: "With the Christmas and New Year holidays almost upon us, businesses must be ready to implement the increase to the standard rate of VAT.

Madderson calls on government to halt duty rises as fuel prices spiral

Petrol prices have continued to spiral upwards in the past week since hitting a record high last week of 121.76.

Petrol prices hit record average high

Petrol prices have hit a new average high of 121.76 pence a litre, ahead of further price rises due in the New Year with VAT rising to 20%. The peak was reached following a week in which snow and ice had brought chaos to the UK's roads, and oil companies and fuel retailers were accused of profiteering as fuel supplies ran short.

Shell supports new science education gallery

Shell is supporting the Science Museum’s new science education gallery: ‘atmosphere - exploring climate science’, designed to help people understand climate science.

Forecourt Watch brings fuel theft offender to book

The recent arrest of a fuel thief highlighted the value of the partnership between Strathclyde Police and the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS).

Consumer group launches petition against EU proposals on tobacco

A consumer group has launched an online petition against new proposals to regulate tobacco throughout the European Union.

Contactless payments can bring over £700m in new revenues, says study

Contactless payments offer retailers the potential to increase revenue by reducing queuing times, according to a new study which demonstrates that contactless transactions can create more than £700m new revenue for retailers by freeing up queuing time for customers to make new purchases.

Food wholesalers' battle to keep shops stocked in atrocious conditions

Food wholesalers have been working flat out to ensure the nation’s independent retailers remain stocked with food and drink despite the weather conditions, but are disappointed at the lack of support from Local Authorities and the Highways Agency.

Forecourts face fuel shortages following severe weather disruption

Forecourts are facing fuel shortages as large parts of the country are paralysed by the severe weather conditions. Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol, said the situation had reached a "critical point".

Khans opt for Londis at relaunched forecourt

Experienced retailers Siemi and Shoaib Khan re-launched their forecourt, Hylands Service Station, last week after leaving their previous symbol group and joining forces with Londis as their new retail partners.

Kent retailer is "fighting losing battle" with the snow

A Kent retailer has bulk-bought salt and is making use of his forklift truck to clear snow from the forecourt and road leading up to it to ensure motorists can safely fill up.

Convenience will continue to outperform grocery says IGD

The UK convenience sector, currently valued at £32.1bn, will continue to outperform the grocery market and is projected to increase sales by 5.8% a year to £42.6bn in 2015, according to the latest figures released by international food and grocery analyst IGD.

Tesco bans hand car washing in all car parks

Tesco has confirmed that it has banned all hand car washing from its car parks nationwide, but not as a direct result of campaigning by the Car Wash Association.

Victory sign

There is much to applaud in the success of RMI Petrol's campaign to secure "some very good reductions to rateable values" (see News Extra page 10).

RMIP victory as VOA announces rate cuts

The year-long campaign by RMI Petrol to challenge the 2010 Revaluation Scheme, has won significant rate reductions from the Valuation Office Agency.

Special status


Pulling power

Unregulated operators have long been sapping the lifeblood out of the traditional forecourt car wash business. Workers sporting sponges and buckets have taken up residence in the ruins of former forecourt sites. Trolley washes have become commonplace in supermarket car parks.

Night fever

Now that the nights are drawing in, it's the perfect time of year for forecourt traders to push their sales with 'big night in' type products. So says Bep Dhaliwal, trade relations manager at Mars.

Snack race

If you were asked to name UK consumers' favourite snack what would you say? Crisps or chocolate perhaps? Well, according to Mintel, the UK's favourite snack is fresh fruit! The company questioned 919 consumers, aged 16 and over, via the internet. Fifty eight per cent of them said fresh fruit was their favourite snack followed by chocolate and crisps/snacks. Perhaps they gave fruit as their reply because it sounded better than the fatty stuff or perhaps Mintel just happened to quiz the 919 healthiest consumers in the UK? It doesn't really matter though as the research company reckons there are nearly 20 billion snacking occasions in the UK across the year so there's plenty of room for other snacks to sell too. According to the research company, those 20 billion occasions break down to 13 billion at-home snacks and 6.4 billion on-the-go snacks.

Total signs 31 Co-op forecourts

Total UK has signed a new five-year contract to supply fuel to 31 Co-op Group forecourts nationwide, representing a significant piece of business for the oil company, particularly in light of its up-for-sale status.

Elaine's simply the best assistant

Forecourt sales assistant Elaine Leaney was named Sales Assistant of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony in London last month, organised by Forecourt Trader's sister magazine Convenience Store.

Facebook campaign wants Tesco to challenge MRH

Inhabitants of Aviemore in the Highlands of Scotland have started a Facebook campaign to get a Tesco forecourt in the town, in a bid to bring down the price of fuel there.

IFFE success for Harvest

Since exhibiting at the International Forecourt & Fuel Equipment exhibition (IFFE) in March this year, Harvest Energy claims to have more than trebled the number of independent forecourts which have converted to its brand.

Jet dealer was lifeline to Cornwall

A Jet site in Cornwall kept the county moving when flooding forced cars to use the forecourt as a road.

Results of this month's online poll:

Following the launch of the Car Wash Association (CWA) campaign to improve car washing standards, to what extent is your business threatened by hand car wash operators?

Confusion follows plain tobacco packs proposal

The government's intention to explore the possibility of plain packaging for tobacco products has left the industry confused about what this will mean for the planned display ban.

Lobby boost for LPG break

LPG fuel provider Autogas is upping its lobbying as it strives to persuade government to commit to long-term incentives to eco-friendly fuel users.

MPK display ban warning

Top 10 Indie MPK Garages has warned that government plans to ban the display of cigarettes in shops could lead to closures.

'Perfect storm' set to hit high streets

A 'perfect storm' of aggressive supermarket expansion, poor planning laws and low investment could wipe out hundreds of high streets, James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS told an audience of retailers and suppliers at its Heart of the Community Conference last month.

FWD: beware cheap booze

Independent retailers who buy cheap alcohol from illegitimate wholesalers are putting their businesses at risk because HM Revenue and Customs has added new powers and extra resources to its fight against duty fraud.

in brief

HKS celebrations Congratulations to Shane Thakrar, business development manager of Top 50 Indie HKS, on his marriage to the beautiful Risha last month. The happy occasion was celebrated in great style with around 500 family members and friends in a giant marquee at the Thakrars' new home in Leicester.

Rates in check

A 12-month battle over 2010 Business Rates, during which more than 2,000 fuel retailers lodged appeals, has resulted in some notable triumphs for the lobbying team led by RMI Petrol and, most importantly, for the industry.

Westacre Services, Salisbury, Wilts.

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Westacre Services is located on the Wilton side of Salisbury about a mile from the city centre on the A36 Bath/Southampton road. This is a joint branded Esso/Bargain Booze Select Convenience enterprise and is almost directly opposite a small Londis convenience store and fair-sized Shell service station

Cracking Christmas

The retailers' favourite time of year?

Help and advice from jac roper

Digging deep into reserves

Highway to success

The main route category was hotly contested in the Forecourt Trader  of the Year Awards. amy lanning catches up with the winners

Trouble up North

The North East has never had it so bad, according to Top 50 Indie Phil Richardson, of Park Road Group, who has eight Total-branded sites around Newcastle. He says the situation for independent fuel retailers in the area is dire, and the outlook doesn't look any better. "Fuel volumes around here are significantly down," he says. "In one week my sites were at best 16% down and at worst 28% down compared with last year. And the volume seems to be gone for good.

Clutter-free, versatile jet wash wows the Popats

European Wash Systems has installed an innovative rack-mounted jet wash for independent retailers Ken and Rekha Popat at Barking Service Station in Essex.

Spar signs shelf deal

Spar UK has joined forces with shelving unit supplier CAEM in a bid to bring bottom-line savings in shelf-fitting costs to Spar retailers nationwide.

DVDs take star turn

Independent forecourt Peterhead Motors has seen footfall grow and store sales rise since installing a state-of-the-art DVD rental machine.

InfoCash expands

Independent ATM supplier InfoCash has acquired the business and assets of competitor Cashbox plc.

Nestlé takes novelty to the next level this spring

Nestlé has made some novel additions to its spring confectionery range for 2011 to help retailers make the most of the longest spring season since 1943.

A runaway success

Müllerlight 'Inspired by...' New York-style cheesecake-flavour yogurt is now available in a single pot. Rrp is 64p. The launch follows the runaway success of the desserts sub-range which was introduced this summer. The product combines thick and creamy tasting fat-free yogurt with cake pieces with each pot containing 105 calories or less.