Forecourt Trader
Euro Garages on expansion trail in the wake of buoyant trading and £110m funding agreement

Euro Garages, the privately owned forecourt retail group chaired by former Asda chief executive Andy Bond, has reported continued growth in sales and profits and announced a £110m funding agreement to step up its site acquisition programme.

ACS welcomes red tape cuts

ACS has welcomed Business Secretary Vince Cable’s announcement today that a number of retail regulations will be cut.

Skydiving for peace

Staff from Top 50 Indie Sewell Retail are taking part in a skydive on Sunday July 31 to raise money for Peace One Day.

Hand car wash warning

Forecourt owners should be wary of installing hand wash people on their forecourts, Dave Lindon, business development director at Istobal has warned.

Indie retailer helps government with flood prevention

Independent forecourt retailer Charles Richards, who runs St Blazey Service Station in Cornwall with his father Barrie, is helping the government with flood prevention.

Big jump in second quarter net profits for Shell

Royal Dutch Shell announced second quarter 2011 earnings of $8 billion compared with $4.5 billion the same quarter a year ago. The company's CEO Peter Voser said the rise was driven by increased energy prices and Shell's operating performance.

Amscreen expands into Europe

Amscreen, the UK’s largest nationwide digital media network owner, is expanding to foreign shores for the first time following a deal with BP Europe SE. The contract will see digital signage screens installed in forecourts across the continent initially in Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.

Welcome Break installs first motorway electric car-charging point

Welcome Break’s South Mimms services on the Junction of the M1 and M25 has become the first site on the motorway to offer an electric car-charging point for electric vehicles.

Euro Garages completes £12.3m M61 motorway services project

Euro Garages, one of the UK’s largest independent operators of petrol forecourts and convenience stores, has completed the redevelopment of Rivington Services on the M61, previously called Bolton West Services.

Official opening of Symonds' latest forecourt

Today sees the opening of Somerset-based Symonds Forecourts' latest site in Wells, Somerset.

Roadchef extends Cashzone contract

Independent ATM provider, Cashzone, has announced an early contract extension to 2017 for providing fully managed ATM services to Roadchef, one of the UK’s ‘big three’ motorway service area operators .

HMRC reminder about student tax

HM Revenue & Customs is urging forecourt retailers to remind students that they may not have to pay tax on the money they make from summer jobs.

Brobot praises Turtle Wax-branded car wash delivered direct from IFFE

The first Turtle Wax branded Christ rollover car wash in the UK went straight from its launch at the IFFE exhibition to the Jet forecourt at Rockingham Road, Corby in Northamptonshire, owned by Brobot, one of the UK’s top 50 independent forecourt owners.

Cornwall Garage Group signs up 16 sites with Harvest Energy

Harvest Energy has announced a five year motor fuel supply and branding agreement with the 16 forecourt Cornwall Garage Group. The Cornwall Group’s sites stretch from the West Country into Sussex, London and the Home Counties and into the Midlands.

Oil companies being left behind in €72 billion European fuel cards business

Oil companies need to up their game in the €72 billion European fuel cards market, as independent issuers use innovation to build market share, according to the latest research from Datamonitor.

Grant for electric cars fails to spark interest

Just 215 electric cars were bought under a Government scheme to encourage the take-up of green vehicles in its second three months of operation, according to a new report by the RAC Foundation.

MP awards Ashdene community retailing accolade

Ashdene Service Station in East Sussex has become the first forecourt in the UK to win the My Shop is Your Shop Gold Award for Community Retailing.

ConocoPhillips to separate retail and production businesses

ConocoPhillips’ board of directors has approved pursuing the separation of the company’s Refining & Marketing and Exploration & Production businesses into two stand-alone, publicly traded corporations via a tax-free spin of the refining and marketing business to ConocoPhillips shareholders.

Good-hearted Gohils

Forecourt Trader of the Year winners Bhupa and Lata Gohil are supporting two of their local schools with a loyalty voucher scheme similar to the ones run by Tesco and Sainsbury.

Sainsbury’s fuel fiasco

Contaminated petrol has caused major problems for customers at two of Sainsbury’s petrol stations in the North East. The incidents happened at Cramlington on June 28 and Durham on July 1.

Stop smoking in cars

Forecourts across Cumbria are being asked to support a new campaign to stop parents smoking in their cars.

Londis invests £4m in fresh expansion

Londis is investing £4m to expand its fresh food business this year, including giving the entire Londis fleet full chilled capacity for the first time.

Attack on news margins adds to case for market investigation

Association of News Retailing (ANR) has renewed its call for a market investigation into the news industry after retailer margins on the Daily Mail were cut to 23.2% from 24.2%, meaning that retailers will benefit by only 0.66p per copy from a 5p price rise to consumers. This move comes alongside an increase in Carriage Service Charges by Smiths News of 4.8%.

Top indie calls for retailers to unite and create fuel brand

Top 50 indie Peter Brough has called for independent retailers to join together to form their own fuel brand and cut out the expensive middleman – the oil companies.

P&H appoints new sales and commercial director

Palmer and Harvey has appointed Martyn Ward, former consumer healthcare company SSL International regional managing director for Northern Europe, as sales and commercial director.

Fuel prices - June 23, 2011


Forecourts drive footfall with parcel service

Parcel service Collect+ has helped drive footfall and boost revenue at 132 forecourt stores, according to new research by the company.

Tesco trumps Sainsury’s with 15ppl promo

Tesco has upstaged Sainsbury’s 10ppl fuel promotion with its latest offer giving motorists 15ppl off fuel in return for £50 spent in store.

It's a done deal

It's been a long time coming, but at last the Total deal is done. And not without its share of surprises who'd have guessed the big tranche of sites going to Shell? Many independents currently struggling to compete with Shell's aggressive pricing stance will be quaking at the thought.

Total UK sold to Snax 24 - and Shell buys 254 sites

Rontec Investments LLP, a consortium comprising top 50 Indie Snax 24 and partners Investec and Grovepoint Capital, have signed an agreement to acquire Total's retail and fuel distribution business in the UK.

RMI Petrol to meet Treasury

RMI Petrol is preparing to meet with the Treasury at the end of this month to give its views on the government's outline proposals for a Fair Fuel Stabiliser. The Coalition proposes to replace the Fuel Duty Escalator introduced by the previous government with a Fair Fuel Stabiliser that will see the 1ppl duty increase scrapped if the global price for crude oil increases above a certain level.

Retailers keen to offer Essentials

More than 100 independent BP retailers have expressed interest in the company's new Essentials convenience offering, launched at the recent BP dealer convention in Athens. The new offer will operate alongside the Wild Bean Café concession, and form part of BP's new Advanced Dealer Offer which includes fuel and the Nectar loyalty scheme. The company describes the package as a "market-leading combination of assets". The Essentials brand is designed to enable BP's independent network to benefit by sharing in the marketing, operational and trading benefits of a more consistent look and feel in-store across the network.

It's all TORQ about MRH in Scotland as new brand appears on five forecourts

MRH (GB) is sporting its own new fuel brand TORQ on five forecourts in Scotland, in the absence of a competitive oil company deal. "It's more of a badge than a brand at the moment, but we may develop it further in the future," said John Lynn, the company's managing director. "We're certainly not going own-branded, but we're using the Torq brand where we can't get what we deem to be a competitive quote from our traditional suppliers. It's something in our armoury to have available when we need it," he stressed."It fits in with our thinking at the moment and we may look to brand more sites in other areas where it makes sense."


In recent weeks there has been much debate in the media about pump prices and the speed with which reductions in crude prices are reflected on the forecourt.

Lords dismiss ban on forecourt booze sales

Peers in the House of Lords have dismissed an amendment prohibiting the sale of alcohol in forecourts as part of the Committee stage of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

Lower carbon world won't happen overnight

The transition to a lower carbon environment presents its own challenges and is not going to happen overnight, stated UKPIA president, Brian Worrall, at the launch of the organisation's 2011 Statistical Review of the downstream oil industry.

£3m investment to boost terms

Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore has pledged to invest £3m to bring independent retailers savings worth an average of £7,000 per store.

Spar pledges bigger bonus

Spar wholesaler James Hall is relaunching its Harvest Scheme, an initiative set up in 2006 to reward retailer loyalty and encourage investment in stores. The company has pledged to double the amounts retailers have earned on the scheme, using its own money.

Pittvale Service Station, Winchester, Hampshire

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Pittvale Service Station situated on the busy Romsey Road (A3090) one of the main entry routes into Winchester is just over a mile from the city.

Director's loan accounts need careful consideration

A considerable proportion of our clients have financial year-ends running to either March 31 or April 30, in common with a lot of other small/medium businesses in general. In practice that means that around this time of year many accountants start seeing their clients' end-of year paperwork come into the office to be turned into financial statements and business tax computations that eventually have to be filed with HMRC, Companies House etc. One subject that has come up more and more frequently when doing this work is that of director's loan accounts which clearly relates to limited companies, but in principle very similar issues can arise with businesses run as ordinary unincorporated partnerships.

Jac Roper looks at petrol pricing; the growing importance of the shop; and equipment

Tony Barlow, whose Local Service Station trades in beautiful Shrewsbury in Shropshire, puts a real stress on independence and individuality. He has been buying fuel on the open market since 1998 and he wonders why a lot more forecourt retailers don't do the same. "I switched because I was contracted to Butler (a subsidiary of Total) but they fell so far behind it became pointless a one-sided contract," he says.

Star quality

Driving onto Station Road in Llandaff North, central Cardiff, it would be hard to miss the James & Jenkins name. The business is a sprawling mix of car dealerships, motor workshop and the Texaco/Mace-branded Tivoli Service Station, together spanning a long stretch of the road.

Liquor law

If you want to offer your customers a proper convenience range, that range will include alcohol. However gaining an off licence for a forecourt store is not always easy and rules seem to be changing all the time. For many people, the sale of alcohol on a forecourt is still a contentious issue. Indeed peers in the House of Lords have just dismissed an amendment prohibiting the sale of alcohol in forecourts as part of the Committee stage of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

Chiller instinct

According to the Institute of Grocery Distribution's Convenience Retailing 2011 report, chilled food was a star performer in forecourt stores last year.

First impressions

When businesses are trading in a difficult economic climate, it's tempting to cut costs wherever possible, but scrimping on the maintenance of your forecourt could prove to be a false economy. Not only will a site start to look tired if basic maintenance isn't carried out, your business could also be exposed to health and safety issues.

A positive approach to life and work is key for Dave

A typical day for me always starts with a good healthy breakfast and usually a visit to my local gym, for an hour or so workout. At 53, I have discovered the importance of trying to have a good work-life balance and my daily routine sets me up for the day ahead and keeps me focused and positive.

The deal is done

When stories emerged earlier this year about Gerald Ronson being the lead bidder for the Total network, it took the industry by surprise. But even more surprising has been the emergence of Shell as the subsequent buyer of more than half of Total's company-owned sites.

Leading the way

Palmer and Harvey has pooled the experience gained over the past 60 years at what it calls "the coalface of the forecourt industry", to produce an in-depth research document on the sector.

Wireless has vital role to play in forecourts' future

Wireless technology will have to play a more important role in future forecourt retail technologies, according to Peter Harding, a former independent forecourt retailer who has returned to his roots as a technology consultant.

Protection from spills

Frankling Fueling Systems (FFS) has launched the Omni Series Break Away Valves and Sight Glasses. Available in standard flow, vapour recovery and high-flow models, they have been designed to ensure protection from hazardous fuel spills and the costly damage caused when vehicles drive away with the nozzle still in the fill-pipe. FFS says each Break Away Valve and Sight Glass is lightweight, compact and allows "seamless installation directly between nozzle and hose". The new range offers multiple thread sizes while several Break Away Valve models included integrated sight glasses. Both products were designed to comply with EN13617.