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Competition fuels forecourt sales growth

Despite a decline in the number of forecourt stores in the past year, average sales per store increased by 3%, according to the IGD's Convenience Retailing 2011 report. Senior business analyst, David Shukri, told Forecourt Trader: "The 3% increase suggests that those forecourts that remain in the market have continued to show resilience and compete fiercely in a backdrop of economic uncertainty."

Survey says petrol cars still more popular than diesels

Petrol cars still beat diesel models in the popularity stakes despite the typically higher fuel economy of diesel engines, a study of UK motorists shows.

Torex Profit Clinics boost margins

Retail technology provider Torex is launching Profit Clinics to show fuel and convenience retailers how to get the most out of their Torex point-of-sale system and grow their margins.

Drive-offs cost industry dear

Crime on Britain's forecourts cost fuel retailers more than £22m in 2010, up from £19m in 2009, according to figures revealed in the annual forecourt crime survey carried out by the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS). The main source of the estimated total loss is £15.5m resulting from drive-offs, with a further £4.5m lost from motorists claiming to have no means of payment (NMoP) who then fail to return to clear their debt.

'Surprise changes' in fuel market

The forecourt industry will continue to adapt and reinvent itself in response to continued change in the market, according to Arthur Renshaw, Experian Catalist's UK & Ireland manager, in his review of the UK fuel market.

in brief

BP honours Graham

Results of this month's online poll:

Do you feel threatened by the 'unfair' fuel pricing practices of competitive supermarket and oil company sites?

Seven more sites move over to Harvest Energy

Independent forecourt Backwell Motors in Bristol has become the latest site to join the growing network of Harvest Energy-branded forecourts.

Costa Express hits forecourts across the UK

New rebranded Costa Express machines have just started rolling out across the UK following the acquisition of Coffee Nation by Costa owner Whitbread earlier this year.

Londis announces lower-price pledge

Londis pledged to invest £1m to deliver lower prices on key lines for its retailers at its annual conference last month.

Forecourts win awards

A string of awards were presented to forecourt retailers at Palmer & Harvey's Pro-Retail Show gala dinner last month.

Carry on complaining

Retailers are again being urged to take action against what they perceive to be 'unfair' or 'predatory' pricing. Andrew Lawrence of Lawrences Garages, who chaired last month's RMI Petrol meeting in Gatwick, West Sussex, said it was incumbent on everyone to write to their MPs where there were problems.

Get set for Nestlé's new biggest-ever promotion

Nestlé is anticipating a huge response to its latest 'Get Set, Go Free' campaign, the company's biggest-ever promotional event. Backed by a £3m media campaign and fronted by World Diving Champion Tom Daley, the Get Set, Go Free promotion was first run last year, and triggered a 27% year-on-year uplift in sales. It has been refined for 2011, and will run across seven categories - including coffee, cereals and confectionery offering consumers the opportunity to try out a range of 27 activities for free at over 5,000 venues in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

V Water joins SoBe

Britvic and PepsiCo are relaunching functional water V Water under the SoBe brand name. The new SoBe V Water range has six flavours, each with distinct benefits. They include two new variants: vrroom (tropical citrus) with vitamins C, D and E, calcium, zinc and selenium; and forti-fight (blackcurrant & goji berry) with zinc and vitamin C. These two are designed to appeal to a wider audience specifically 20-25-year-olds who want soft drinks that complement their lifestyle. SoBe V Water is backed by the launch of a new Facebook site as well as outdoor advertising and sampling.

Vimto targets teens

Vimto Soft Drinks is putting £6.5m behind its Seriously Mixed Up Fruit summer campaign which aims to reach 95% of UK teens. It has tripled its investment in digital media so the drink's 200,000 Facebook fans can gain exclusive access to competitions and promotions. The brand has worked with major figures in film, media and animation to create the campaign, which includes a mix of radio, online, consumer sampling, trade press and TV.

Anchor's birthday bash

The Anchor cows are back to celebrate the butter brand's 125th birthday. A new 40-second TV ad sees the cows getting ready for Anchor's 125th birthday party in a barn next to the dairy.

Irn-Bru's big ad push

AG Barr is backing Irn-Bru with a £3m media programme in a bid to increase consumer demand beyond the drink's Scottish heartland.

Birds Eye adds rice

New Birds Eye Rice Fusions combines vegetables with fluffy, steamed rice. There are four varieties: Mediterranean vegetables; egg fried rice with peas; pilau with peas & spinach; and country mushroom. Each contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. The rice cooks in the microwave in three minutes.

Fanta hits the Beach

Coca-Cola Enterprises has launched a new sub-brand for Fanta.

Racing start for EQ8

Formula 1 competitor Team Lotus is looking to make an impact on and off the track this season with the launch of a new range of energy drinks called EQ8. With claims that it is made from 100% natural ingredients, and contains moderate levels of natural caffeine, the company says EQ8 has been designed to quench the thirst of those put off by high levels of caffeine and synthetic ingredients. It comes in three variants cranberry & apple; orange & passion fruit; and original. For launch it will carry an rrp of £1 per can, supported by bespoke promotional opportunities with individual forecourt traders, about which EQ8 is happy to discuss with them direct.

Raffles get new look

Philip Morris has relaunched its Raffles brand as Virginia S. by Raffles. The company says the cigarettes offer smokers the "same classic flavour as Raffles" but the new-look pack uses new printing techniques to appeal to modern tastes. The surface texture of the pack is soft, and the lining features the monogrammed Virginia S logo.

More to Share

Galaxy is now available in a 200g 'More to Share' block as well as a limited-edition orange & shortcake variant. The brand is backed by a £11m media investment througout the year.

Menthol stimulation

Wrigley's Airwaves is backed by a new forecourt campaign. The 'Head' activity communicates the benefits of chewing the gum. It appears on pump nozzles, nozzle posters and till screens

Chilled coffee in a can

Illy Issimo the ready-to-drink beverage from Illycaffé and Coca-Cola, is now available in the UK. It comes in caffé, cappuccino and latte machiato flavours. Rrp is £1.65 per can.

Currying favour

UB's McCoy's brand has teamed up with the British Curry Club for its latest promotion. Consumers can get two main curry dishes for the price of one with every pack purchased.

Tesco gives 5ppl off in toilet roll promo

Tesco is offering 5ppl off fuel in return for spending just £7.98 on two packs of own-label toilet tissue.

Jonathan James backs ACS claims of bullying tactics by energy companies

Former Forecourt Trader of the Year Jonathan James was interviewed about the bullying tactics of energy companies on Radio Cambridgeshire this morning.

RMIP calls for OFT investigation into 'unfair' fuel pricing

RMI Petrol has claimed that the emergence of two-tier fuel pricing in the UK is severely damaging the independent petrol retailing sector and is calling for another OFT inquiry.