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Supermarkets follow each others price cuts

The four major supermarket groups have reflected falling wholesale prices and favourable exchange rates with three rounds of price cuts during April.

Chris Hunt: UKPIA director general

As I write this, our never-ending winter seems to be continuing, although some sections of the media have become excited because temperatures might approach the dizzy heights of 14oC!

New premium fuel launched by Shell

PRA informs MPs inquiry

The PRA has submitted evidence on the pressures facing independent petrol, stations to a cross party group of MPs investigating the state of the UK retail sector.

BigOil is beefed up with Vianet's analysis tools

The PRA's fuel price intelligence product BigOil has been enhanced with the option of Vianet Fuel Solution's suite of wet-stock analysis tools, and the creation of a margin management toolbox linking daily Platts prices to the real-time recording of sales, inventory levels and deliveries. The improvements are designed to create a suite of web-based tools that provide fuel retailers with real-time profit reporting.

Sanitiser kit launched

Addgards has launched The 'Hand & Handle' sanitising wet wipe dispenser to cater for customers concerned about the hygiene or smell of petrol pumps.

Monitoring on the move

PSD Codax is piloting new technology that will enable forecourt retailers to monitor all their car care equipment remotely using a single monitoring device.

DIY range extended

Vehicle wash supplier Wilcomatic has introduced new DIY ranges with the aim of improving forecourt customer service and retailer profit.

Tokheim makes Metro Security its partner for its Eye system

National security systems installer Metro Security has been named by international fuel retailing solutions provider Tokheim as its UK partner for the new Tokheim Eye system.

New colour and height at WashTec

WashTec's entry-level rollover car wash, the EasyWash, has been extended to offer a wider choice of heights and enhanced decoration to appeal to car wash customers and, at the same time, fit into the range of existing bays.

Payment plan unveiled

Forecourt equipment manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root says it is now offering one of the industry's lowest cost payment plans.

Peter Harding - Retail technology consultant

Something that has been on my mind for some time, and is a fascinating new technology, is 3D printing. Yes, the ability to print items in 3D ie solid. This technology allows users to print a solid object from a CAD drawing. What? I hear you say. The ability to print an object is not only possible, but it's a reality. Printers have been available for some time, but let's not get carried away as the size and type of item that can be printed is limited. But the rate of growth and advancement is amazing.

Golden opportunity - Boost your chances of success at this year's Forecourt Trader awards with our advice and top tips on how to enter

A golden moment to treasure? It could be yours this year if you enter our awards and see how you measure up against other service stations in the race for the industry's gold standard the Forecourt Trader of the Year Award. It will be presented at a glittering ceremony at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane on Thursday, September 19, along with many other awards recognising high standards of operation in the fuel retailing sector.

Pumps: Cash converters

Consumers are used to putting cash in a machine whether it's when they're paying for parking, buying a ticket at the train station or settling the basket shop at a self-service checkout in the supermarket. So the arrival of cash acceptance on the forecourt was probably only a matter of time. Northern Ireland-based Lissan Coal Company's (LCC) new GO-branded site in the centre of Belfast has become the first petrol station in Europe to install dispensers with an integrated bank note acceptor. The unmanned site, which opened in March this year, is now seeing 40% of motorists paying with cash, with the method of payment proving particularly popular with taxi drivers and motorists trying to manage their spending.

Can you bank on it?

Money really does make the world of retailing go round. And it's controlled by the banks along with other financial institutions that are all clever enough to make finance such a complicated subject that none of us, not even 'them', fully understand it on all levels (including Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor, goes the charge).

Hot, Quick and Tasty is definitely the way to go

The market for 'quick, hot meals' is currently worth £350m in the UK but is set to grow to over £500m in the next 10 years, according to Nielsen data. These products which can be prepared in less than five minutes and eaten hot are currently consumed by 60% of UK households.

Let rip into these

Nestlé is extending its Rowntree's Randoms with the launch of Rip'ems. These comprise eight peelable strings in four fruity flavours: apple, blackcurrant, orange and pineapple.

All wrapped up

Cuisine de France has added new sweet and savoury lines to its range. Its new pre-filled breakfast baps are available in both bacon and sausage variants. Frozen in oven-proof film, they can be defrosted overnight in the fridge, then baked for 10 minutes and displayed in a hot cabinet for up to two hours.

Magnum in choc form

Ice cream giants Magnum, Cornetto and Mini Milk are now available in chocolate form thanks to a licensing deal between Unilever UK and Kinnerton.

Hudson's is top dog

Country Choice says its new Hudson's hot dog offer gives retailers the chance to expand their food-to-go ranges with a concept that requires minimal counter space and offers a profit margin of 40%-plus. The eight-and-a-half inch hot dogs, which are steam-cooked for a better taste, contain 87% pork and are supplied with a quality pre-sliced, fully baked demi baguette.

Mini muffin mania

The McVitie's Cake Company is launching Jaffa Cakes and Galaxy mini muffins. Each twin-pack has a rrp of 89p. The Jaffa Cakes mini muffins are a light sponge with a bittersweet dark chocolate topping and include the brand's 'smashing orangey bit'. The Galaxy mini muffins have a smooth chocolate cream centre and are topped with Galaxy milk chocolate.

Festival favourite

Tic Tac is currently available in a festival limited edition. Each pack contains four fruity flavours: lime, orange, cherry and passionfruit.

Brightening breakfast

Tropicana's latest on-pack promotion gives consumers the chance to win £5 every minute of the morning. Brand owner PepsiCo reckons the activity across the entire single-serve range will brighten up breakfast sales for retailers.

Heinz launches slices

Heinz Beanz are now available in four chilled savoury pastry slices: Heinz Beanz slice; Beanz with Cheddar cheese; Beanz with spicy meatballs; and Beanz with smoky sausage. All are wrapped in light puff pastry.

ACS welcomes E.On's backbilling pledge

The Association of Convenience Stores has welcomed energy company E.On’s announcement that it will be reducing its backbilling limits for all small businesses to 12 months, effective this week.

P&H launches alcohol licensing initiative for independents

An alcohol licensing initiative to enable independent retailers to take advantage of the take-home alcohol sector has been launched by Palmer and Harvey, the UK’s largest delivered wholesaler. The category is worth £1.1bn annually and in 2012 grew in value by 4.7%.

German motorists visit the car wash three times more often than British motorists

Germany has been identified as the largest and most valuable car wash market in Europe, according to new research from Verdict. Germany’s total car wash market value was €1,584m in 2012, accounting for 34% of the total commercial car wash market in nine of the major European markets. Its dominance is due to a combination of factors, including stringent car wash legislation, a large number of vehicles on the road and a resilient economy.

Euro Garages to add 69 more Subway stores by 2016

The Subway brand and Euro Garages have announced plans to open a further 69 outlets across the group’s existing 120-site forecourt estate by 2016. The companies say the expansion drive will create around 700 new jobs - especially in areas of high unemployment. The new stores will bring the total number of Euro Garages sites with a Subway store to 100.

Forecourts in award-winning line-up at Pro Retail gala dinner

Two forecourts were recognised at wholesaler Palmer and Harvey's Pro Retail gala dinner in Telford last night (May 30).

Former Shell boss calls for coalitions

Coalitions between business groups and civil society are the best way to ensure governments in developing countries protect their natural resources, the former global chairman of Shell will tell the University of Brighton's Festival of Research.

Merril Boulton: An explosive month for news

I don't think I'd be overstating it if I said April got off to an explosive start, literally, when thieves blew up a cashpoint on a petrol station forecourt (see CCTV footage via our website www.forecourttrader.co.uk).The blast took place at a Texaco-branded forecourt in Weyhill, Hampshire. Apparently thieves blew up the cashpoint with a home-made bomb and ran off with the cash. What were they thinking? Do they not realise there's already a potential bomb on the forecourt the underground tanks!

Positive outlook

There are plenty of positive things happening in the market for independent dealers. That was the message from Experian Catalist's account manager, Arthur Renshaw, as he kicked off the Forecourt Spotlight session at this year's Forecourt Show.

Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Joblings Garage, Bicester, Oxon

GENERAL APPEARANCE:

A Forecourt Trader reader suggested a visit to a site with friendly staff, Joblings Garage in Bicester. It is a BP/Mace site, right next door to the Joblings

Money Talk: Whatever happened to our 'flexible friend'?

Every retailer reading Jac Roper's page in last month's issue should have been horrified by the prospect of a major electronic funds transfer (EFT) processor changing their debit card handling fees from a 'per transaction' cost to a percentage of turnover. That's because this was an attack on one of the few payment options available to fuel retailers which wasn't subject to the punitive 'turnover tax' based on pump prices levied by the card companies, or the high costs of cash-handling charged by the High Street banks.

Service Centre: Help and advice from Jac Roper

A pain in the cashflow

Quite an Easter wasn't it? What with a hole in the wall cash machine being blown up into a much larger hole at a petrol station in Weyhill, Hampshire, while Steve Jones was busy getting sued by a policewoman after the poor dear tripped on his Nun's Bridges forecourt kerb in Thetford, Norfolk, while investigating a potential incident. Both made front page news in the nationals.

Star supplier

It's about 18 months since Valero Energy acquired the UK assets of Chevron, and with it the legacy of the Texaco brand, which has been in the UK for nearly 100 years.

Liquid gold

Britons guzzled their way through an astonishing 6.97bn litres of soft drinks last year. According to Britvic's Soft Drinks Review 2013, all that liquid equated to £7.21bn-worth of sales through grocery and impulse outlets. Impulse outlets accounted for nearly 25% of value sales (£1.78bn), up 1.6% on 2011, with 'glucose stimulant drinks' or energy drinks accounting for nearly 26% of value sales versus cola's 24%. But in volume terms, cola sales amounted to 303m litres versus energy drinks' 175m litres.

Day in the Life: There's no such thing as a typical day for James

I've always considered myself more of a night owl than an early bird but it's impossible to ignore the wife's 6.30am alarm. For her, living in Kent and working in London means an early train commute and for me, it's a grumpy start and taxi duty to the station before heading to the office for arrival between 8am and 8.30am.