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Fear of battery failure will curb role of electric vehicles, says former Volvo boss

The former boss of Volvo doesn't think electric cars will be the future of the automotive industry - because fear is the key. Stefan Jacoby, who was chief executive officer of the Swedish car company until recently, said: "If the battery goes down on their cell phone people feel really bad. If it's your car in the middle of a traffic jam you will feel even worse.

PRA vows to fight over OFT decision

PRA chairman Brian Madderson has promised a "very robust response" and intense lobbying after an OFT investigation gave the road fuel market a clean bill of health (see News Extra, page 10).

Motor Fuel Group expands network with acquisition of 10 Shell outlets

Motor Fuel Group (MFG), which is number five in the Forecourt Trader Top 50 Indies, has grown its network to 58 stations with the acquisition of 10 outlets from Shell.

48 IMO sites for sale

IMO Car Washes has put 48 of its sites up for sale through Manchester-based chartered surveyors Hindley Lawrence.

Best Forecourt Loo 2013

Never mind how slick your convenience offering is, do you know that toilets are the number one irritant to customers when it comes specifically to the forecourt shop, according to Palmer and Harvey/Him! research?

P&H provides analysis tool

Software to help forecourts understand their local customer base, and tailor the product range to their needs, is being made available to Palmer and Harvey customers.

Retailers battle deep snow to serve their local communities

Forecourts across the UK battled against heavy snow last month to ensure they could still serve their local communities.

in brief

Support for Jet dealers

Results of this month's online poll:

As supermarkets plan more forecourt openings, can a good independent forecourt convenience store compete with such sites?

HKS adds two more sites and signs BP deal

Top 50 Indie HKS Motors has completed the acquisition of two petrol stations, one on Alfreton Road in Derby and one on Saffron Lane in Leicester, backed by a £700,000 finance package from Santander Corporate & Commercial banking. The Leicester-based company now owns and operates 27 petrol stations, primarily across the Midlands.

Kent forecourt firm plans for the future

The long-term future of one of Kent's oldest and most successful family-run forecourt operations, JC Morrison, has been significantly boosted with the acquisition of a third filling station, situated in the village of Barham near Canterbury.

C-store property provides respite

Convenience retail both standalone and associated with petrol apparently brushed aside the concerns of the wider retail marketplace in 2012, according to Christie & Co's Business Outlook 2013.

Pizza on the motorway

Welcome Break has teamed up with pizza delivery franchise Papa John's to open 13 pizza outlets across its 29-strong network of motorway service stations. It is also adding additional outlets but would not specify how many.

Petroman system installed at Rheged

The free Petroman System won in our recent Forecourt Trader competition was installed at the Rheged service area in Cumbria in December.

Tokheim Eye trial leads to expansion of system

Trials by independent service station operator Ron Perry have convinced him to invest in expanding the Tokheim Eye monitoring system across his two sites near Hartlepool.

New Wilcomatic machine caters for bigger vehicles

Wilcomatic is introducing a wider-passage vehicle washing machine to accommodate commercial vans and larger 4x4s.

Equipment column: Peter Harding

There goes another year. Within our market what happened from a technical perspective? What new revolutionary ideas came forward? Still thinking? Yes, not a lot.

Master stroke

west country & wales: 2.5mlpa plus

Budgens of Wells in Somerset is not a forecourt to rest on its laurels. Having been named Forecourt Trader of the Year 2012 after scooping the award for Best West Country & Wales site in the 2.5mlpa plus category, as well as the manager of the site claiming the title of Best Site Manager, the Symonds Forecourts' team is still pushing boundaries and trying new things to keep the offer fresh. The latest development has been the introduction of a forecourt attendant an initiative that's proving particularly popular with the elderly customers who appreciate help refuelling.

Style and substance

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder but there's no disputing the stunning design of Brobot Petroleum's flagship Southern Gateway site in Corby, Northants. Indeed so stunning is the entire site, that it picked up the Best Design and Development accolade at last year's Forecourt Trader of the Year awards.

Wrigley shows its bottle with new gum format

Wrigley is launching its first-ever small bottle format. Designed to drive chewing frequency and volume, the company believes the new format will bring an additional £12m in retail sales to the gum category this year. As well as boosting sales, Wrigley says the launch will improve shopper value with the bottles' rrp of £1.99 for 46 pellets.

Scottish energy drive

Nae Danger is described as the first energy drink that's been created, branded and manufactured in Scotland. The brainchild of entrepreneur Ross Gourlay, it has been developed to give drinkers a boost they 'cannae whack'.

Convenient Belvita

Belvita Breakfast is now available in an exclusive format for the convenience channel. The new 150g format contains three 50g packs of the biscuits in two top-selling varieties: milk & cereals and honey & nut. Rrp is £1.49.

McCoy's hits bullseye

McCoy's is once again the official partner of the McCoy's Premier League darts. To bring the partnership to life for retailers, there is an on-pack promotion on all 50g handy packs and 150g sharing bags. This activity includes two new limited-edition darts-inspired lines: bullseye bangers & treble cheese and Worcester sauce.

Juice that's less sweet

Trop 50 from Tropicana is a new fruit juice drink with just half the calories and half the sugar of regular juice. It is a mixture of Tropicana Pure Premium not-from-concentrate juice and water, which is then sweetened with Stevia to give sweetness without the calories. It comes in 330ml on-the-go formats and 1ltr packs in varieties including smooth orange and orange & mango. Rrps are £1.19 and £2.29 respectively.

Scrunch or fold?

Kimberly-Clark is launching a campaign for Andrex to get the nation thinking about their bathroom habits and divide consumers into Scrunchers or Folders.

Space launch for Lynx

Unilever is supporting its new Lynx Apollo variant with a competition where a consumer can win a trip into space.

Menthol on the go

Jakemans has launched its two most popular menthol flavours (throat & chest and honey & lemon) in smaller bags for on-the-go use.

Arctic ambition

Coca-Cola and WWF have joined forces in a new project to raise awareness and funds to save the home of the polar bear and create a positive future for the Arctic.

Boosters banish stains

New Ariel Stain Remover 3D Boosters are in-wash tabs said to deliver great cleaning power direct to the heart of the wash. The launch is backed by TV, digital and in-store activity.

Chocs away

Cadbury Wispa is now available as a hot chocolate. Wispa hot chocolate comes in 27g sachets (rrp 38p) and 246g jars (rrp £2.79). The launch is backed by a £3m campaign.

Brighter future

Marlboro Bright Leaf is now named just Bright Leaf. According to brand owner Philip Morris, Bright Leaf was developed specifically with the British smoker in mind.

Easter nibbles

Premier Foods has two new Cadbury cakes for Easter: Caramel cakes and Lemon Creme cake bars. The company says chocolate and lemon are the biggest flavours at Easter.

Shell strengthens control of car wash sales with Codax technology

PSD Codax, specialist in the development of token-free control systems for car care equipment, is helping retail giant Shell strengthen control of car wash sales at its UK forecourts.

Call for rural duty discount to be increased

A discount in the price of petrol and diesel on the Scottish islands and the Isles of Scilly could and should be increased, an MP has suggested.

Fairbanks implements wet-stock solutions in 1,500 Shell sites

Fairbanks has completed the installation of a range of wet-stock solutions in more than 1,500 Shell forecourts across 14 countries in the past four months. Services include statistical inventory reconciliation, intelligent web reporting and real-time data collection and analysis using the Fairbanks ibank device.

PRA staging Forum in Blackburn

The PRA’s next Regional Forum is being held in Lancashire on February 13.

New car sales increase

The new car market continues to perform well despite wider economic uncertainty, according to the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK.

Robber jailed for four years

A robber who raided a petrol station and made off with takings from the till has been jailed for four years.

Forecourt raided at Tesco superstore

Officers from Thetford CID are appealing for witnesses to a burglary which took place at a Tesco superstore’s petrol station in Dereham, Norfolk, in the early hours of Friday February 1.

Merril Boulton: Disappointment - not surprisingly

Bitter disappointment was clearly the mood of the day last month when the Office of Fair Trading ruled that competition in the petrol retailing sector is working well and needs no further investigation.

A missed opportunity

After winning a long battle just to get the OFT to consider whether there were competition problems in the road fuel market, the outcome last week was a deep disappointment for the PRA, and the many other groups campaigning for a full investigation.

Shop Doctor: Budgens of Wells, Somerset

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Not far from the cathedral is the Forecourt Trader of the Year 2012 prize-winning enterprise, Budgens of Wells. Opened in July 2011, the BP forecourt and Budgens store is located in the heart of a dense housing area.

Money Talk: Outstanding campaign from the VAT office

It sounds almost friendly doesn't it? No hint of a threat of any big investigation into your financial affairs, or any penalties. But don't be complacent about it. For all of the soft PR in which this campaign's been cloaked, there's still an iron fist within the velvet glove, and if your VAT accounting isn't up to date, you could find yourself in big trouble.

Service Centre: Jac Roper sorts your problems, including the rules on splitting up multipacks

Always check out the label

'Freddie' rang up. As you may have already sussed, that's not his real name. He believes that a nearby competitor may be trying to stitch him up but didn't want to ID anyone for obvious reasons.

Share and share alike

The 'Park & Shop' forecourt convenience brand, successfully developed and implemented by the Park Garage Group across more than 50 forecourts, is now available to operators through the UK as the company looks to further extend its involvement in petrol convenience retailing. Recognised by the industry as a 'Top 30' grocer and listed at number three in the 2012 Forecourt Trader 'Top 50 Indies', the £200m turnover family-run business is eager to share its success and buying-power discounts with other dealers.

Best food-to-go outlet - sponsored by rollover

The success of food on the move at Welcome Break's Birchanger site on the M11 in Bishops Stortford is driven by a 'day-part menu' that has been designed to satisfy eating needs and maximise sales. The breakfast menu kicks off at 6am with breakfast baps, sausage rolls and hot pastries; and at 11.30am the site moves onto a lunchtime hot menu, which includes meat and chicken burgers, as well as more substantial pastry products and a vegetarian option.

Burning issues

The tobacco display ban, which was implemented in larger stores (3,000sq ft-plus) last April, is also now in place in Northern Ireland and Wales, with Scotland set to follow suit this April. Lessons learned from these bigger stores will no doubt help retailers with smaller stores, when they have to implement the ban in 2015.

Grate stuff

Cheese is universally popular, with nine in 10 adults buying it. According to Mintel data, most of these people will eat it in a sandwich while many others like it on toast. Its mass appeal means that consumers will expect to find it in their local forecourt store.

Day in the Life: Sabrina Cader

It is fair to say that I am not a morning person. After hitting the alarm's snooze button several times, it is my husband's threats that I will be late and left behind that drag me from bed. We aim to get a 7.55am train to London together, but we seldom make it. To compensate I have to buy him coffee. I buy coffee quite a lot!

Fuel prices - January 30, 2012