Forecourt Trader
Shell unveils plans for 100 ‘clusters’

Retailers operating Shell’s 570 company-owned sites are facing an uncertain future following the unveiling of plans for a new multi-site contract at roadshows around the country.

Premium fuel range rolled out by Total

Total has launched a premium diesel and unleaded fuel which it claims offers 30 more miles per tankful, cares for the car engine and creates less pollution.

United Co-op buys Action Stations

United Co-operatives, the largest independent co-operative society in the UK – with a £1.9billion turnover – has bought Action Stations, which operates in the Yorkshire, north east and Nottingham areas. It has acquired seven sites – based at Wakefield, Pontefract, Ossett, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Retford and Sunderland – which form part of a business set up in 1994 by Paul Jervis. It has an annual turnover of more than £38m and employs more than 100 staff.

Total on the defence

Total has issued a statement regarding our latest Shop Doctor report in which its site in Eastleigh, Hampshire gets a further hammering.

Jewers returns to boost Gulf brand

Keith Jewers has returned to the Gulf brand which he left when Chevron sold its UK interests in the mid-90s. He has been appointed director of Gulf Retail, which has signed 150 dealers in the three years since the brand returned to the UK.

Attacker sent to jail

A court has heard how a petrol station employee was viciously attacked and repeatedly kicked as he lay on the forecourt.

Morrisons will sell off BP/Safeway sites

Morrisons is planning to sell off its share of the 61 BP Safeway Partnership sites following the disbandment of the eight-year-old joint venture, announced last month.

news in brief

ROADCHEF is rolling out a new format for its forecourt shops, following a six-month consultation with retail consultancy Breathing Space. Analysis of sales at trial sites – Watford Gap and Clacket Lane – have shown that while fuel volume is remaining static, basket spend is up by 5%. Mike Hobbs, director of Breathing Space, explained: “We’ve looked at product and category placement, ease of layout and signage so customers can identify very quickly what’s on offer. ” The new concept will be rolled out to all RoadChef forecourt shops in the next two months, but the capital investment is being phased in later on.

Cluster bombshell

Shell has been through many changes in the management of its UK company-owned retail network in the past decade – and it’s about to embark on another one. The last radical changes came towards the end of the ‘90s when, after several years trying to settle on a variety of retail formulas to fit with a dramatically changing market – some of which seriously challenged its relationship with retailers – it went back to basics.

Shop Doctor revisited

It’s the first anniversary of my stealthcheck reports so my editor suggested I re-visit one of the worst and one of the best sites of the past year to review any changes.

Opportunity in a grim market

Our latest database figures simply highlight the depressing reality that Ray Holloway mentioned in his column in last month’s issue – that retail is in a bit of a mess right now unless you happen to be Tesco. For the first time since 2001, February’s fuel volume was below that of the equivalent month a year earlier, and by quite a large amount (6.8%), while shop sales did little better – down by 1.2% in cash terms, which is really a drop of over 4% in volume terms if we adjust that figure for price rises. Continuing high pump prices are not helping make forecourts attractive places for consumers; and as has been mentioned before, the state of many forecourt shops these days is quite pitiful – many fuel vendors seem to have completely given up trying to be retailers.

A hot topic

I think we would all agree that Pot Noodle would taste terrible without the addition of hot water (and I’m not going to make any cheap jibes here even though their press office didn’t ever get back to me despite their voicemail promises and me leaving three messages).

Hello! I'm at the petrol station!

A new study by Dr Adam Burgess entitled ‘Cellular Phones, Public Fears and a Culture of Precaution’ says claims about risks of using mobile phones on forecourts have crossed into ‘the realm of urban legend’. There is no risk. According to The Observer, BP fire safety officer Richard Coates agrees: “Mobile phones pose no petrol station hazard.”

How to be a winner

Do you think your site has got what it takes to win a prize at this year’s Forecourt Trader of the Year awards? If the answer is yes, we want to hear from you.

Northern charm

Whether or not you’ve heard of the Sewell Group before, a few hours spent travelling around the city of Hull in a Porsche will ensure that you never forget it. The name is everywhere – on schools, buildings, promotional panels, and, more importantly, on some extremely smart forecourts.

Fuelling in the future

Pumps are at the heart of the forecourt business and the choice of pump is crucial if business is to prosper. Inevitably, as technology improves, pumps become ever-more sophisticated – consumers are already getting used to seeing screens and hearing audio instructions as they fill up as well as using pay-at-pump facilities.

Lets get fizzical

Mother Nature had a lot to answer for last year. Dismal weather for most of the summer months didn’t just make for a rather dull season, it also led to a disappointing soft drinks performance.

Sunshine days

Think summer and you think sunshine, short sleeves, cool drinks, ice creams and holidays. Plus there are all those outdoor eating opportunities for picnics and barbecues.

Live film drives sales

Stella Artois is driving summer beer sales on forecourts with its biggest-ever consumer promotion – Live Film – giving consumers a unique chance to act out their movie fantasies.

A choice move


Nozzle gives gas a push

The world’s first one-handed gas refuelling nozzle has been awarded the 2004 innovation prize by the German Association for the Efficient and Environmentally friendly use of Energy.

Go with the flow

Daily Flow Monitoring is a new online service from Gilbarco Veeder-Root that helps keep flow at peak rates. The company’s marketing manager Greg Sears explained: “Daily Flow Monitoring helps retailers make sure each fuelling position is operating at peak flow for maximum throughput. Secondly, it helps operators reduce maintenance costs by changing dispenser filters only when needed, instead of at arbitrary pre-scheduled intervals which can be wasteful and unnecessary.”

A single solution

FuelQuest, which provides the FMS solution for fuel demand and supply chain management, and KSS, the provider of the PriceNet solution for retail fuels pricing and price decision support, have got together to offer a certified interface between the two solutions.

Live film with beer

Stella Artois has unveiled its 2005 marketing activity, spearheaded by a consumer promotion called Live Film, with prizes worth over £20m.

Roses keep growing

Range rationalisation and rebranding are the cornerstones of Cadbury Trebor Bassett’s activity for Christmas 2005.

Live film with beer

Stella Artois has unveiled its 2005 marketing activity, spearheaded by a consumer promotion called Live Film, with prizes worth over £20m.

Kettle's chilli offer

Kettle Chips is launching a new mango chilli variety that combines chilli heat with the fruitiness of mango.

Icy blast with Wrigley Extra Ice

Extra Ice is a new flavour addition to the Extra chewing gum range, replacing Extra Winterfresh.

A slice of the action

McVitie’s is relaunching its range of ‘eat now’ cakes with the addition of six new products.

The bigger dipper

Bel UK has launched the Big Cheez Dipper, a larger cheese snack pot with bigger breadsticks and more of the smooth and creamy cheese from The Laughing Cow.

Relaunch for Chewits

Leaf UK is relaunching its Chewits kids confectionery brand with new pack designs, new variants and an improved recipe.

Lasting power with Duracell

Duracell has introduced a new formula for Duracell Plus and Duracell Ultra M3 batteries, which is said to deliver longer lasting power for everyday and hi-tech devices.

Fruity mix and nuts

United Biscuits UK (UBUK) is adding a healthier proposition to its range of nuts with KP Origins, a range of fruit and nut yoghurt mixes.

Xtreme power pack

Panasonic has launched a range of batteries with new technology that delivers up to three times more energy than alkaline batteries in digital equipment.

KitKat's Kool summer

Nestlé Rowntree is planning to boost retailers’ confectionery sales this summer with the launch of its KitKat Kool It promotion.

Mo'gas: An irreverent view from the network

THE AMERICAN COMEDIAN Jacky Mason used to devote part of his act to the role of the successful businessman. He goes out to his office in the morning where he’s king. His secretary rushes to carry out his every instruction, his sales force bow & scrape in an effort not to have their targets raised too high, and his suppliers phone all day long, offering him compliments and inducements, to persuade him to place more orders. And when he goes home his wife greets him with “You putz, you forgot to put the garbage out!”

Fuel prices: May 2005

Data supplied by Catalist Ltd

Fuel prices: May