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September

Merril Boulton: Shocker
02 September, 2013

Wow what a shocker! The news that the government has seriously under-estimated the size of supermarket fuel sales in the UK is a huge upset of the fuel retailing sector's view of its business. And it's like a nightmare come true for independent retailers. It's as if the industry has woken up one morning to discover that the supermarkets have gained a 7.5% share of the retail fuels market from 39% to 46.5% overnight. Except that it wasn't overnight. It took more than five years for it to be realised that the method used by someone, somewhere in one of the major supermarkets to input rather critical monthly fuel sales information for the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), was downright wrong. Or 'flawed', as it has been so delicately described by 'officials'. What a farce! It means that all this time, through all the significant reviews of the market such as the potentially game-changing Office of Fair Trading's report in January we have been told supermarket growth was not concerning.

Reports hit the flaw
02 September, 2013

The findings of January's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report on the UK road fuel market have been seriously undermined by the revised market share figures for supermarkets released by the government (see panel). They show that the supermarkets have a far higher share of the UK road fuels market than was previously admitted.

Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Milton Road Service Station, Southsea
02 September, 2013

GENERAL APPEARANCE: I felt it high time I visited a Shop'N Drive site so 'stuck a pin' in the Rontec website Petrol Station Finder and came up with Milton Road, Southsea.

Money Talk: Card merchant fees are not the real issue
02 September, 2013

It's been a little odd to watch the whole card processing cost saga increasingly dominate the news pages in Forecourt Trader over the past few months. At EKW (and particularly through this column), we have been pointing out the effect of retail percentage merchant fees on rising fuel prices for many years, and were warning about the current situation a long time ago in fact from a time when pump prices were less than half of the prices typical at the moment!

Service Centre: Jac Roper on retailers having a run-in with the planning office... and problem staff
02 September, 2013

Get approval before you improve

Sometimes there is no pleasing the local authorities. Linda Sheppard tells a cautionary tale that anyone who is thinking about making improvements should read.

A head for petrol
02 September, 2013

For those of you who believe that staffing at the Petrol Retailers' Association has been a bit thin on the ground of late, some good news. Step forward Richard Chadderton, the new head of petrol (since July), a full-time, permanent position, realigned from the scope of its previous incumbent to be totally dedicated to the PRA, without obligations for commercial activities elsewhere within its parent body, the RMIF.

Cover drive
02 September, 2013

You might be temped to turn the page when you see the word insurance - it's not exactly a conversation starter after all. But you need to have it so that you can sleep at night, and so that should something dark and ominous pay you a visit, you are more than prepared to deal with it.

Motoring ahead
02 September, 2013

There can't be many service stations around nowadays that date back so far that they've gone from doling out hay and water to horses and carriages, right the way through to serving today's fuel-thirsty vehicles and their demanding drivers/passengers. But that's just what's happened at Prestwick-based David Bryson & Son. It all began in 1902, when David Bryson started offering a service to the horses and carriages coming through the tolls. He had stables that fed and watered them.

E10 in limbo
02 September, 2013

How the media loves a scare story. 'Nearly nine million cars could be incompatible with new fuel' screamed one headline earlier this year, while 'E10 could add £80 to a family's annual driving costs' screamed another. If only Michael Winner was still with us to say 'Calm down dear'.

Brands mean growth
02 September, 2013

With more people consuming hot beverages than a year ago, the £5.8bn market is showing no signs of slowing down. According to Allegra Strategies' Project Café, an estimated one in five people now visit a coffee outlet on a daily basis, with figures showing that the morning period remains the most popular time to grab a cup.

When a major car manufacturer like Ford predicts that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber petrol and diesel models by 2022, does that ring alarm bells about the possible speed of change for forecourts?