Forecourt Trader
Inaccurate pumps give drivers fuel 'gift'

An AA dip-check of a handful of petrol stations found some pumps giving up to 4.4% more fuel than shown on the pump effectively a 6ppl gift to drivers.

Brits alter driving habits to save on fuel costs

Nearly 14 million UK motorists have pledged to drive more economically as a direct result of high fuel costs, according to new research from Green Flag breakdown service.

Maxol rolls out new brand image

Maxol is trialling a new corporate identity for its service stations. The oil company plans to install the new branding at 50 forecourts by the end of 2012 and the rest of the 200-plus network will be completed over the next three years.

in brief

Fuel for debate

Keep Sunday Trading regs says ACS and PRA

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA) has called on the government to retain Sunday Trading regulations. The move follows comments made by Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles who suggested the government may review Sunday trading laws when the temporary relaxation of restrictions over the Olympics period comes to an end on September 8. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "The temporary change this summer has simply diverted trade from small to large stores. Current Sunday Trading rules are the only competitive edge that local shops have over their much larger counterparts and removing that advantage could be disastrous for many convenience stores."

Drive-off prevention guide

A guide produced by the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) is supporting a successful crime reduction training initiative in Rossendale, Lancashire.

GB Oils sets standards in new contest

GB Oils has launched 'Superstation', a competition designed to improve forecourt standards and presentation while adding some fun and reward to day-to-day housekeeping.

Brian Madderson

The early part of the summer saw crude and wholesale prices falling quite rapidly, which provided some relief to the retailer's gross margins. However, responding in knee-jerk fashion to ill-informed press comment, Justine Greening MP (Secretary of State for Transport) burst onto the media scene demanding that retailers reduce their pump prices faster to give motorists a 'fair deal'.

Costcutter storms ahead with growth

Costcutter Supermarkets Group has posted a 4% year-on-year increase in sales in the first six months of 2012 and added another 112 new accounts including 14 forecourts.

Promotional planning

Londis has unveiled a new approach to its promotional planning in a bid to further enhance its offer for retailers.

Equipment column: David Charman

What an interesting year it is turning out to be for car washing. Firstly, we had severe drought conditions, then a deluge of rain. Next the heatwave gave way to a short shower, sprinkling tons of Saharan sand all over our customers' cars. What next locusts or frogs? Not sure my interceptors can cope with either!

New contract for Fairbanks

Fairbanks, in partnership with Tokheim, has a new three-year contract to deliver wet-stock management services to more than 3,000 Shell sites worldwide.

WashTech goes Dutch

WashTec UK has teamed up with Dutch forecourt security specialist, BigBrother, to offer state-of-the-art video monitoring capabilities tailored to the needs of UK forecourts.

Shell's big ATM deal

As part of a long-term ATM services' relationship formed earlier this year, Bank Machine will install, own and operate more than 600 free-to-use ATMs at Shell UK company-owned sites by the end of the year.

Speedy solution

Costcutter Supermarkets Group is set to launch PayPoint's latest epos integration tool, PPoS, across its store network following a successful trial. PPoS has been fully integrated into the company's bespoke CPoS system and removes the need for a separate terminal for PayPoint transactions. All payments and top-ups are carried out through the store's existing CPoS system which significantly speeds up transaction times and customer service. Operated via broadband, the new PPoS system also enables Costcutter's retailers to automatically capture information directly into their CPoS system, providing faster cash reconciliation.

Torex's one-stop shop

Torex has announced the launch of Torex Consumables, a new one-stop shop for business supplies provided in partnership with Premier Vanguard. From till rolls and shelf-edge labels to stationery, ink and furniture, Torex customers can now get their consumables from one source.

MRH saves with NPower

Number-one Indie MRH looks set to reduce energy costs on lighting and electrical maintenance by almost 90% saving the company some £260,000 each year following a project with energy company Npower.

The lighter option

Tensile fabric technology has been used to create a light forecourt canopy for a petrol station in Ireland. The 'Gullwing' canopy at a forecourt in Clonakilty in County Cork is made from heavy-duty PVC-coated polyester fabric elements that allow up to 16% light transference while cutting 100% of dangerous UV rays.

Maximising margins

Fuel retailers need to maximise the trade and margin from their non-fuel sales using the footfall that the forecourt creates, according to John Lewis, the new convenience and fuel manager for retail software provider PCMS.

Vodka downsizes

Eristoff vodka is now available in a 35cl format for the convenience channel. Rrp is £7.49. It is expected to appeal to the brand's target audience of 18- to 24-year-old men.

More Crunch

The latest limited editions from Müller Crunch Corner are cookies & cream and orange chocolate crunch, which will be available until next summer. Rrp is 64p per pot.

Three for Christmas

Cuisine de France is launching three new lines for Christmas: mincemeat, cranberry & almond slice; and two flowerpot muffins (orange & cranberry and chocolate & orange).

Thomas & Friends

Licensed confectionery specialist Beacon is launching Thomas & Friends fruity gummy sweets with added vitamin C. They come in 150g hanging bags, rrp is £1.29.

shop talk

The world and his wife are running on-pack promotions. Many are billed as 'instant wins'. For me that means that as soon as you open the wrapper, you know that you've won. No, I don't expect a massive fanfare (though that would be nice) but instead a message inside that screams 'WINNER' or, more often, 'SORRY you have not won this time'. However, more and more the so-called 'instant' win means texting or even logging onto the internet. And, although I have the requisite iPhone and iPad, I simply can't be bothered. 'You're too old', I hear you cry (and thanks for that) but I bet even techno-savvy youngsters who are plugged into the internet 24/7 can't always be bothered to check to see if they've won.

Nestlé will find you

Nestlé Confectionery is using GPS technology to find the winners for its 'We Will Find You with £10,000' promotion. There are six top prizes of £10,000 each up for grabs, as part of £80,000-worth of prizes. The activity features on special packs of KitKat four finger, KitKat Chunky, Aero peppermint medium and Yorkie milk.

Design upgrade

n just five years, BAT UK's Pall Mall brand has become one of the top 10 cigarette brands in the UK. Having now broken 4% market share (Nielsen data), Pall Mall is celebrating its on-going success by upgrading its packaging.

Christmas with Mars

New to Mars Chocolate's Christmas range is the Galaxy luxury selection which features Galaxy Gift For You. Separately, Galaxy Gift For You has a new truffle variant so one half of the product comprises solid Galaxy chocolate while the other half is filled with either caramel or truffle.

Best pub night offer

KP Snacks has added two new darts-inspired limited-edition flavours to the McCoy's range.

Camel goes curvy

TI is launching what it claims is the world's first curved pack design for its premium cigarette brand, Camel. The pack will be rolled out across all Camel Blue 20s packs. The move forms part of a complete range modernisation which will also see Camel Blue 10s packs receive a new look. According to Euromonitor, Camel is the sixth biggest-selling cigarette brand in the world. JTI says it is particularly popular in major cities across the UK. Rrp is £3.82 for packs of 10 and £7.47 for 20s.

Bond link for Coke

To celebrate its partnership with the new James Bond film, Skyfall, Coke Zero packs have been given a special makeover.

Three more join JPS Silver

mperial Tobacco's JPS Silver range has been extended with the launch of JPS Silver Superkings 10s and 20s, and JPS Blue Superkings 10s. Recommended retail prices are £6.40 for 20 and £3.28 for 10. Price-marked packs are available while stocks last, at £6.15 for 20 and £3.15 for 10.

Driving sales

The Sakura New Driver Starter Pack, available from Saxon, contains a collection of goodies for drivers who are taking to the road on their own for the first time.

Two new Cadbury lines hit the choccie shelves

Following the successful launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM) Bubbly earlier this year, Kraft Foods is launching a self-eat 90g bar with a rrp of 59p.

Fuel prices – August 31, 2012


New transport secretary emerges from cabinet reshuffle

A new Secretary of State for Transport has been appointed following today's cabinet reshuffle. Justine Greening, who only took over as transport secretary from Philip Hammond in October, has been replaced by Patrick McLoughlin, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip. Greening now becomes international development secretary in the new cabinet.

Rude awakening

A new campaign from the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) and the Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA) is giving motorists a much-needed wake-up call as it highlights the burden of excessive fuel taxes in a bid to raise pressure on the Treasury to cut fuel duty.

Shop Doctor: Tinkerbell Service Station, Barford St Martin, Wiltshire

GENERAL APPEARANCE: The BP/Spar Tinkerbell Service Station is just outside the village of Barford St Martin on the A30, almost at the mid-point between Salisbury and Shaftesbury.

Money Talk: Find out why you spend so much time in the red

This subject just won't go away it's a discussion that takes place on so many forecourts when dealers receive their latest management accounts: "You're telling me that my business is profitable, but I never have any cash, and my bank account is always overdrawn. One of us must be getting something wrong." The reality is, of course, that neither is wrong. It's entirely possible for a business to operate with normal levels of profit, but suffer from poor cash flow.

Service Centre: Jac Roper looks at two-tier pricing and who is willing to lend money

Texaco deal fuels debate

Buyers beware

Anyone who has acquired a petrol forecourt business will know that there are many different elements to keep in mind during the buying process, which keep both the buyer and their lawyers busy.

Hindmarch Garage

A forecourt business waits for no one even if a late fuel delivery is threatening to hold the owner up for their daughter's wedding. That's what happened to Andrew and Diane Hindmarch, who run Hindmarch Garage in Stamford, Lincolnshire. It was undoubtedly one of the busiest weekends of their lives their daughter's big day, the Diamond Jubilee, and their last weekend as Total dealers.

Spotlight on Fuels: Bio diversity

The introduction of a new fuel with a higher ethanol content E10 has been delayed. Specification for the new fuel had been tipped to be signed off for introduction into the UK by the end of this year, but last month the government signalled that its position on E10 had changed.

Beans bag profits

A survey by coffee firm Douwe Egberts has found that Britons spend an astonishing £15,600 in coffee shops over a lifetime because they don't know how to make lattes and cappuccinos at home. It found that 69% of the 2,000 people surveyed spent between £1 and £5 in coffee shops, five days a week.

Focus on Confectionery: Scare tactics

Halloween is big business in the UK. According to retail intelligence firm Planet Retail, sales rose 12.5% last year to reach £315m. Retail analyst Lisa Byfield-Green says the occasion has continued to grow consistently since Planet Retail began tracking figures in 2001.

Day in the Life: Clive Sheppard

What a difference a week makes! The Sunday before I wrote this, I was savouring the atmosphere in the Olympic Park after having had the privilege of witnessing Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farrah win three gold medals in the athletics. We were all punch drunk after watching one of the greatest sporting nights ever, and nobody wanted to go home.