Forecourt Trader
Army on standby to deliver fuel in case of strike action

Emergency plans have been drawn up for army drivers to deliver fuel to petrol stations in anticipation of a possible strike by tanker drivers.

Chancellor cuts fuel duty and axes escalator

Chancellor George Osborne has thrown retailers and motorists a lifeline by announcing a 1ppl cut in fuel duty from 6pm on March 23 and announced an end to the fuel duty escalator.

Undercover cops tackle drive-offs

Surrey police is using undercover officers in a bid to crack down on drive-offs.

BP to sell new Nintendo 3DS

Gaming fans can beat the rush and be the first to get their hands on the new Nintendo 3DS console and games by visiting their local BP forecourt.

New chief executive for Federation of Petroleum Suppliers

The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) has announced the appointment of a new chief executive.

VAT on fuel up by 5p-a-litre in one year

Soaring pump prices and the 2.5% increase in VAT on January 4 have added almost 5p a litre to the government’s tax-take from VAT on petrol over the past year, says the AA.

Shell on track to boost performance and growth

Shell is aiming to become the most competitive and innovative energy company in the world, according to its latest strategy update, presented by chief executive officer Peter Voser in London today.

Madderson updates Chancellor ahead of Budget

Chairman of RMI Petrol Brian Madderson has written to Chancellor George Osborne highlighting serious issues that must be considered ahead of the Budget.

Council negotiates savings on fuel

A Cornish council has negotiated with two forecourts to give locals 2ppl off fuel. Saltash residents who have a Saltash Card can get 2ppl off fuel at the BP at Granada Services and the Texaco forecourt on the A38.

Biofuel backlash in Germany

Germany’s Ministry of Economy is continuing with the introduction of E10 despite a backlash from drivers. The Ministry held an emergency petrol summit earlier this month to discuss problems surrounding the sale of E10.

Evolve provides Total green solution

Total UK has completed an energy reduction scheme across 245 of its company-owned service stations, helping to reduce annual carbon footprint by more than 1,200 tonnes.

BP names new UK company and franchise retail estate manager

BP has named Catherine Randle as the new manager of its company and franchise retail estate in the UK, replacing Richard Harding.

Petrol hits £6 a gallon

Soaring oil costs have pushed the UK’s average price of petrol above 132ppl – £6 a gallon – for the first time ever.

Chancellor gives more hope for duty axe

A fuel duty cut is looking more likely in this month’s Budget as Chancellor George Osborne promised to help the motorist.

Madderson urges fuel duty campaign support as The Sun gathers 150,000 signatures

A gathering of the nation’s biggest independent petrol retailers were urged to support RMI Petrol’s campaign to cut fuel duty, by the association’s chairman Brian Madderson.

Signs of the times

The publication of Shell's latest study into energy scenarios over the next 40 years couldn't be more timely. Entitled 'Signals and Signposts', it updates the company's thinking by taking into account the impact of the global economic and financial crisis.

Oil prices rocked by Middle East unrest

Fuel prices are set to rocket by up to 10ppl in the coming months as oil prices rocket following bloodshed in Libya, according to warnings issued by RMI Petrol.

MRH sells Pace to focus on retail network

MRH (GB) LTD is divesting its commercial fuels distribution business to focus its growth aspirations on the ownership and operation of forecourts.

RMIP slams profiteering jibe by AA

RMI Petrol has slammed the AA's latest claims that UK petrol retailers are profiteering from rising fuel prices, following publication of the association's Fuel Price Report, published yesterday.

Prices force drivers to run on empty

High fuel prices have lead to a sharp rise in the number of motorists driving on empty and running out of fuel before they make it to a service station, according to a survey commissioned by roadside rescue organisation Green Flag.

Fuel cards on the up

High fuel prices are driving an increasing number of businesses to use fuel cards as a means of payment at the pump, claims Datamonitor.

Results of this month's online poll:

Do you think axing the fuel duty escalator would be the right thing to ease the burden of rising fuel prices?

in brief


Retailers urged to stick to trusted suppliers

Forecourt retailers with off licences should always buy their wines and spirits from reliable sources, says the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD), after reports that up to a quarter of retail outlets in some parts of the country are stocking counterfeit alcohol products.

Topaz in €6m joint deal with McDonald's

Leading Irish fuel retailer Topaz and McDonald's have announced details of a joint investment of 6m in a new state-of-the-art service station on the Dublin/Cork motorway.

Jet names winners in dealer awards

St Blazey Service Station in Cornwall has been named winner of Jet's annual 'Aim4Success' awards, which recognise dealers' commitment to achieving high levels of service, safety, training and communication.

Baglan opts for Air1 for AdBlue

Baglan Service Station is the first service station in Wales to offer bulk dispensed AdBlue from Air1 on its HGV forecourt.

Movers and shakers

Just as MRH was again named the UK's number-one independent forecourt retailer in our 2011 Top 50 Indies listing, the company announced the sale of its commercial fuels distribution business Pace Fuelcare Ltd to GB Oils Ltd, a major operating subsidiary of Dublin-based DCC plc, and owner of Gulf Retail (see news pages).

In the surgery this month

GENERAL APPEARANCE: This Total service station is located just off the M25 at junction 13 and at the entrance to Egham town centre. It is clearly identified by a corporate Total canopy and pole showing illuminated, competitive fuel prices.

Will rising prices drive us to another 'fuel crisis'?

Anyone reading the news pages of February's Forecourt Trader can't have missed the biggest topic of the month the imminent 1ppl fuel duty hike due in April. Of course, that 'penny a litre' increase will translate into a rather larger figure at the pumps typically an extra 3-4ppl after VAT and whatever inflationary factors caused by the falling value of sterling and the ever-rising cost of raw crude are added. There was a lot of pious hope expressed by various senior figures in the industry that the rise might be 'deferred' or even that the Prime Minister would follow through on his idea of a 'fair fuel stabiliser'.

This month Jac looks at Electricity at Work regs and those dreaded roadworks


Community spirit

It's impossible not to be impressed by the originality and attention to detail employed in the development of James Graven's latest addition to its network. As the fruits of a project aptly named 'Independent by Design', Wisbech Road Service Station in Littleport, Cambridgeshire screams 'local' at every turn.

Question time with BOODLE HATFIELD


Perk up your business

While much of the industry and the media have focused on the pressure being put on forecourts and the motorway services sector by record high fuel prices, VAT rises and people's increasing unwillingness to spend, Coffee Nation claims to have seen buoyant sales in this market. Chief executive Scott Martin says there's no doubt that it's a difficult climate and a challenging time for operators, but by being more innovative, creative and tenacious there is considerable scope for achieving and increasing sales. In spite of current market conditions, he believes hard times can actually be beneficial in forcing a re-examination of business practices.

Green for go

If you thought forecourt design that incorporates environmental aspects was a passing fad, you'd be wrong. According to Richard Ezard, director at Bayliss Design, nods to the environment will cease to be a trend and will definitely become a reality.

Bags of profit

If you're looking to pep up your chocolate sales then you need to make sure you're taking advantage of the growth of sharing bags. That's because sharing bags is the second largest category in confectionery behind single countlines (IRI data). And what is more, within the total sharing bags category, it's the chocolate products that are driving growth.

Final countdown


Energy buzz

If ever there was a product category tailor-made for forecourts it would have to be energy drinks and their little brothers, energy shots. Energy drinks sell by the cartload from the chiller while energy shots are ideal, merchandised by the till area.

Collectable 50p Olympic coins - in Mint condition

With momentum building for the 2012 Olympic Games, The Royal Mint has launched a new collectable 50p range that could help forecourt retailers enhance their own 'coin' collection.

Kit Kat bags a share

Pop Choc, a new variant on Kit Kat the UK's third largest chocolate confectionery brand is being launched this month in a 140g sharing bag, rrp £1.89. Pop Choc consists of bite-size pieces of Kit Kat wafer coated in milk chocolate. The launch is backed with a £3m media campaign including a new TV ad, women's press, outdoor and digital activity. Nestlé UK trade communications manager, Graham Walker, says: "With the chocolate sharing bag category experiencing huge growth, this is a really exciting move for the Kit Kat brand... Pop Choc is set to create huge consumer interest."

New chew challenge

Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles will be back on TV screens for the first time in three years in a £4m media campaign. The new ad, which will first air on March 12, will see the return of the 'chew challenge'. It will show a young man attempting to put a Fruit Pastille in his mouth without chewing it in order to win an audience with a princess. But he fails to resist the tempting taste of the 25% real fruit juice in the sweets. The commercial will run on prime-time TV slots and will be supported by a digital campaign to encourage consumers to visit the Rowntree's Facebook page and relaunched website.

Werther's bags chocs

Storck UK is launching the Werther's Original chocolate range into the impulse sector in 100g hanging bags. It was originally launched last summer in 125g bags.

Maximise your sales

Mars says its limited-edition Snickers Maximus provides forecourt traders with the perfect sales driver as it builds on its successful Mr T campaign. The bar comes without the nougat of a normal Snickers, leaving more room for a maximum serving of nuts and caramel.

Some men like it hot

Men are being used to push the delights of oven baked pasties eaten hot at home in a series of humorous 'Man Plea' ads which form part of Ginsters' biggest ever brand push. Supported with prime-time TV advertising, the £6.5m marketing investment for Man Plea is part of the company's commitment to driving new growth in the savoury pastries category, which has been adversely affected in the forecourt sector by reduced spend and footfall. The Man Plea campaign will also include online, in-store and outdoor advertising support. Andy Valentine, head of brand marketing for Ginsters, says: "We want consumers to appreciate just how great a Ginsters pasty or slice tastes hot from the oven, and that it can be eaten with accompaniments."

A Big Race every day

Cadbury is launching the Cadbury Spots v Stripes Race Season the latest game from its Spots v Stripes activation which is being supported by a £6.5m campaign, including TV and outdoor advertising, digital activity, PR, and the launch of the new limited-edition Big Race bar, rrp 54p.

Chips get mega spicy

Kettle Chips is spicing up its range with the launch of a jalapeno chilli variety.

Bunnies backed by ads

Cadbury is investing heavily in marketing support for its Dairy Milk Caramel Bunnies which, according to Nielsen data, were the number one Easter novelty launch in the past three years.

Powerade sports boost

New to the Powerade line-up is ION4, a still isotonic sports drink which will be used by Team GB and Paralympics GB to help them prepare for the London 2012 games.

Campbell's comeback

The Campbell's soup brand is back on UK shelves thanks to a link up with Symington's. Products include cup soups, simmer soups, savoury rice and savoury pasta and sauce.

Smokin' new flavour

Pringles are available in a new smokey bacon flavour. Brand owner P&G says bacon is a popular flavour trend for crisps and snacks, showing continual year-on-year growth.