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December column

Winter brings the welcome return of quality washing opportunities. Damp mornings brightening to dry, clear afternoons are the perfect conditions for maximising all types of washing. There is plenty of business to go around; we just need to ensure we get our fair share. It is vital that the equipment and infrastructure are ready for this extra business. Servicing, cleaning and making sure bays are safe and attractive will ensure that customers return again and again.

Time to clean up

It's been a difficult few years for car wash operators. Not only has the rise of hand car washes put a hefty dent into many retailers' car wash trade, but the tough economic climate and soaring fuel prices have forced motorists to minimise their spending. But the silver lining on tough conditions in the car wash market is that commercial and operational pressures appear to have halted further expansion of hand/unregulated car wash operators, according to Michael Harris, managing director of Washtec UK, and spokesman for the Car Wash Association.

Get cracking

Forecourt retailers should let the grocery multiples get on with their big promotions on Easter eggs while they concentrate on what they do well selling chocolate for immediate consumption, says Graham Walker, trade communications manager at Nestlé UK. "For convenience retailers to see sales success next spring, their number one focus should remain on immediate consumption lines; sales of which grew by 4% (IRI data) in the convenience channel last spring. The immediate consumption category makes up 75% of total Easter sales (IRI) making it the one category that convenience retailers cannot afford to miss."

Clips ahoy

Snack manufacturers are crazy for clips with the 'big two' Walkers and United Biscuits (UB) both investing in clip strips to help retailers maximise sales.

Retro candy bags

New from Icepak is a range of quality, retro sweets made with all-natural flavourings and colours. Called Barney Jack's, they are made in the UK and come in a handy grab bag size that's ideal for motorists.

Manufacturers race to get their new capsule filter cigarettes on the market

British American Tobacco (BAT) and JTI are racing to be first to market with premium cigarettes that use new capsule technology. Both companies say the technology is new to the UK.

A Perfect Partnership

Red Bull has launched a new retailer loyalty programme called Perfect Partnership.

Packs with a twist

Imperial Tobacco's Superkings has been given a new pack design with a "modern twist".

Creme Egg goes Splat

Splats are joining the Cadbury Creme Egg range in time for Easter. New Creme Egg Splats are small chocolate shapes filled with 'goo'. However, they have a smaller fondant-to-chocolate ratio than Creme Eggs which brand owner Kraft says means there is now something for everyone within the range.

Cadbury Eclairs up for grabs

Cadbury Eclairs has recently received a sophisticated new look. The new packaging design is running across all Cadbury Eclairs products including bags, cartons and roll packs.

Win Gillette Fusion ProGlide

To celebrate its biggest launch of the year, Gillette is giving retailers the chance to win a selection of its Fusion ProGlide products.

Music prizes from 5

Wrigley has launched a new promotion on its 5 gum which has a top prize of the chance to tour five festivals in Europe while runners-up will be give a six-month Spotify Premium music subscription. Running until January 30 2012, the activity will be supported by a range of point-of-sale material. There is also a new advertising campaign for 5 which includes Facebook using Like Ads and sponsored status updates.

Lynx's Final Edition

Unilever has added new variant Lynx 2012: The Final Edition to its men's toiletries range. It has been inspired by the Mayan calendar which is set to end its final cycle on December 21 when Mayans believe the word will end. The TV ad shows a young man building a wooden boat in preparation for the end of the world. After he builds it, he sprays himself with Lynx and a number of beautiful women appear.

Family drives Nick Lloyd to even greater success

My day usually starts at 6am. I get up, have a quick bowl of porridge and then head off to the gym or for an early morning bike ride. But I aim to be in the car for 7.15am. I always try to make the most of my time in the car. I try not to ring any suppliers before 8am, so instead I ring the branches to review the previous day's trade and fuel volume performance. If it's a Monday we also review the margin and sales performance. Using Torex in all the stores means we have a consistent way of reviewing profit and sales. It's always interesting ringing sites from my car because, unfortunately, a Welsh accent and German engineering don't always match!

Moto upgrades HGV facilities at Lymm Services

Motorway services provider Moto has undertaken a major investment programme at its Lymm site, upgrading all HGV refueling facilities to provide a faster and more reliable service.

Many rural sites hit by massive rate increases

Many rural petrol stations are being faced with massive rate increases of between 100%-400%. The news comes from an initial review of the impact of the 2010 Rating List on rural forecourts by Barber Wadlow, in association with RMI Petrol.

Go-ahead for rural fuel duty rebate pilot

A rural fuel duty rebate pilot scheme has been given the green light from the European Union, to start on March 2012.

Euro Garages joins RMI Petrol

Euro Garages, this year’s Forecourt Trader of the Year winner, and one of the UK’s largest independent forecourt retailers, has joined RMI Petrol.

CWA rolls out quality car wash scheme

The Car Wash Association (CWA) is rolling out its WashMark kitemark designed to act as a barometer for quality car washing facilities.

Spar launches convenience retail apprenticeship scheme

Spar wholesaler Blakemore Trade Partners retail training centre, The Guild Academy, has launched a new apprenticeship scheme designed specifically for the convenience retail market.