Forecourt Trader
Topaz installs Wayne pumps on flagship site

Global fuel dispenser specialist Wayne is to supply Topaz Energy’s flagship forecourt at Dublin Airport with Helix 4000 pumps.

Jet 'proud' to launch new standards and service programme

Fuel brand Jet has announced the launch of a new standards and service programme, ‘Proud to be Jet’. The programme assesses, benchmarks and continually measures site performance across all Jet-branded forecourts based on annual compliance audits and other brand-related criteria set by the company.

Merril Boulton: 2014 - positive signs

And so another year begins, and apart from the rather bleak weather there's definitely an increasingly positive feel coming from the industry as we head into 2014. Yes, it's still very tricky and competitive out there, and it's certainly no time to relax the strict disciplines and practices learned in recent times. But business seems to have generally been improving in the past few months, with many retailers reporting better sales over the Christmas period compared with the previous year. The economy also seems to be inching its way forward at last.

Nominate your loo for award

It's time to whip out those loo brushes and polish up your pans, because the competition to find the nation's best forecourt loo is back following its successful launch last year, sponsored again by janitorial supplies specialist RS Sales and Distribution.

James Lowman: chairman ACS

There is a growing consensus that radical change to the business rates system is required. We have been arguing for a long time that if the government wants to see businesses investing and creating jobs, then it has to take clear steps to reduce the costs that stand in its way.

Positive momentum

The past year has been a busy one for the PRA, and its chairman Brian Madderson expects there will be no let up in 2014.

News Review of 2013


A PRA report warns that supermarket expansion could wipe out 800 independent forecourts by 2017. Former PRA president Paul Sykes sells his five Shaws forecourts to Midlands Co-op.

New canopies generate electricity for forecourt

New canopies for two Sainsbury's forecourts are claimed to be a world first in that the forecourt roof not only contains photovoltaic (PV) glass to generate electricity but is also transparent.

Kevin Eastwood: BOSS executive director

How many times can a motorist fill up, claim to have left their method of payment behind, promise to pay within a week but then fail to do so? Once, possible, twice, doubtful, three times or more suggests treatment for Alzheimers or they're behaving in a dishonest manner and should be treated as criminals.

On the map

Midlands: up to 2.5mlpa

In 2012, family-run Hockmeyer Motors in Holdingham, Leicestershire took a huge leap by turning its back on 40 years of car sales knocking through into the car showroom and extending the Spar store to 2,100sq ft.

Specialist Categories: Best Customer Service - sponsored by Greenergy

Personal service is oft quoted as the thing that sets independent retailers apart from the 'faceless' grocery multiples, and that's certainly true at David Charman's Parkfoot Garage in West Malling, Kent where customers are definitely 'king'.

Rain or shine

Keeping water out of underground storage tanks is just as important as keeping the stored fuel safely inside. But while modern, well-maintained tanks seldom let in water from the surrounding soil, it continues to make its way into the fuel.

Mars scores by renewing Football Association deal

Mars Chocolate UK has renewed its partnership with the Football Association in a deal that will see Mars continue its role as Official Supporter of the England Team and Official Partner to The FA's 'Just Play' programme until July 2018.

Marlboro's nice price

Philip Morris has introduced new price-marked packaging for Marlboro Gold Touch, its slightly thinner Marlboro Gold cigarette.

New Year editions

Ginsters has launched some New Year special editions which include the return of winter warmer, the steak & ale pasty. This is made with British steak marinated in Cornish ale with potato and onion wrapped in light puff pastry. There are also two new limited-edition sandwiches: smokey BBQ chicken & bacon and ham hock & spiced plum chutney. Both these sandwiches have researched really well with consumers who say they are twice as likely to purchase Ginsters' sandwiches than the nearest branded competitor.

The Cuban alternative

A new Cuban-inspired electronic cigar has joined the Nicolites range. The company says it is a 'real leaf feel' alternative to traditional Cuban cigars. It boasts a real Cuban flavour and smokers can expect to get around 1,000 puffs from each e-cigar.

Kitkat's Lucky Breaks

Kitkat has teamed up with Monarch and Aer Lingus to give consumers the chance to win a free European return flight every 30 minutes between 9am-9pm from January 27 to March 10. What's more, the Lucky Breaks promotion also gives consumers the chance to claim £10 off a European return flight by simply collecting three promotional wrappers. The activity will feature on a range of KitKat pack formats.

Peppa Pig hits shelves

Popular pre-school kids character Peppa Pig is hitting the confectionery shelves with two new licensed lines from Bazooka Candy Brands.

On the Pub Menu

Kepak Convenience Foods is launching two limited editions. The new Rustlers Pub Menu range comprises Rustlers beef & pepper sauce and Rustlers chicken & stuffing mayo, both available from this month. Kepak's marketing director, John Armstrong, said: "The Pub Menu range takes inspiration from traditional pub classics that our consumers know and love, delivering tasty favourites at great value.

Cathedral takes a bite

In an exclusive licensing agreement with Dairy Crest, Burton's Biscuit Company is launching Cathedral City Baked Bites, made with real Cathedral City Cheddar.

Kettle communicates

Kettle Foods has launched a new communications programme called the Independent Retailer Community to talk directly to retailers. The aim is to build stronger relationships with those retailers who buy Kettle Chips through a third party such as a wholesaler.

Biscuits boosted

United Biscuits is relaunching its McVitie's brand backed by a £12m multi-media campaign. All its sweet biscuits now come under the McVitie's name, while savouries are branded Jacob's.

One in Six wins

Mars' '1 in 6' promotion is back, giving consumers the chance to win a free chocolate bar. Seven core best sellers feature the activity including Mars, Snickers, Twix and Bounty.

Two more Slices

Building on the success of its McVitie's Digestive Slice, McVitie's Cake Co is launching two new Slices: Hobnob milk chocolate slice and Digestives caramel slice.

What a Shocker

Bestway's Profit Shocker promotion gives retailers the chance to earn up to 50% profit on return on best-selling own-label lines. The activity runs from January 4 to March 3.

Forecourt Trader confirmed as media partner for UNITI expo

Forecourt Trader has been confirmed as one of the key media partners of UNITI expo, the new international trade fair for Europe, taking place in Stuttgart from June 3 – 5, 2014.

Fuel prices - January 2, 2014


Building a future

Dealer groups are now signing to the Gulf brand in significant numbers according to Ramsay MacDonald, retail director of Certas Energy (formerly known as GB Oils). The signings mean that the company will start the New Year 53 million litres stronger as a result.

Question time with Andrew Hunter

In Scotland, obtaining an off licence can be a difficult task without a full understanding of the process. And with the Scottish Government having recently concluded a consultation on alcohol licensing laws, there is potential for significant change to the current legislation. Andrew Hunter, a partner in Harper Macleod and specialist in licensing north of the Border, looks at the state of forecourt licensing in Scotland and considers the key points to consider when applying for an off licence.

Shop Doctor: In the surgery this month - Brobot Corby Southern Gateway, Corby, Northants


On the north west outskirts of Corby, at a roundabout, is the new Southern Gateway Business Park. Currently it only has three completed developments - a Premier Inn, a Beefeater restaurant and my target, the award-winning Brobot site.

Service Centre: Jac Roper starts the New Year with good news as well as lots of wise words

The loan arranger good guys

This column is kicking off the New Year with some good news. It comes via Steve Vaughan, a Londis retailer who runs Handbridge Services in Chester.

Nisa-ly does it

Over the past 30 years Barry and Joan Raw have built up a strong business which, at its peak, sold over 15 million litres of fuel from three sites in the North East of England. Until recently, all three sites retailed under the Jet brand with what the family described as a "standard fuel and shop offering". However, in July 2013 they made a pioneering move to convert one of their sites to a full Nisa-branded operation at Redworth Service Station in Shildon on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland, with fuel supplied by Greenergy. On completion of the work, fuel and shop sales increased by 20% almost overnight. "It was like turning on a light," says Joan. "People could see what we were offering and clearly liked what they saw."

Des res

When it comes to the forecourt property market, it's very much a matter of opinion as to whether 2013 was a busy year or not. Anthony Keohane, director of automotive and roadside at Colliers, says 2013 was "another busy year" with the supermarkets and oil company/supermarket joint ventures continuing their expansion trail. "BP, with M&S, has been particularly active and Sainsbury's has now opened the first of a package of sites that it acquired from Rontec, in Horley.

Pellet potential

It's not often that you buy a packet of chewing gum then, as a result, drive off in a brand new car. But that's exactly what happened to Airwaves gum consumer Theresa Cowling from Oxford, who won a Ford Focus ST as part of the brand's Full Throttle promotion. Her prize was presented to her by two drivers from the Airwaves Racing British Tour Car Championship team Mat Jackson and Tom Onslow-Cole as the competition formed part of Airwaves' ongoing sponsorship of the British Tour Car Championship.

Money Talk: It's no time to withhold your financial secrets

January is always a very busy month for accountants, dominated primarily by the need to ensure that clients' personal self-assessment tax returns (SATRs) all get filed by the 31st at the very latest.

Day in the Life: Pete George

It sounds like a cliché, but there really is no such thing as a typical day for me. That's just as well considering I've now been with Phillips 66 in its various forms for 44 years! I first joined the company (at that time Conoco) straight from grammar school in 1970, and have since held a number of roles in transport, terminals, supply, retail and wholesale in different locations throughout the UK and overseas. I think the variety of roles and the different challenges I've faced have kept me on my toes. There's certainly never been a dull moment!

PRA secures rates discount

Petrol filling stations will be included in a business rates discount after intervention by the PRA.

Indies support for supermarkets' cards worth £10m says MacDonald

The independent forecourt retailer sector could be supporting supermarket businesses to the tune of £10 million a year by participating in loyalty card schemes, claims Ramsay MacDonald, retail director of Certas Energy.

Fuel offers victory

The PRA is to follow Australia's lead in seeking a voluntary agreement to curb the fuel discounting practices of the supermarkets, which have been so damaging to the independent petrol retailing sector. It is also calling for the OFT to re-open its investigation into the UK market.

Krisco Seyon lifts Maypole

Keith Mowbray, a well-known figure in the forecourt sector, has finally found a company to rejuvenate his Maypole Service Station site in Birmingham after closing it five years ago. He has leased it to Top 50 Indie Krisco Seyon, which has spent £250,000 on it and reopened it on December 21.

Jet adds five in Scotland

Phillips 66 fuel brand Jet has announced that five new Scottish sites have joined its network of independents, taking its total number of sites throughout Scotland to 51. With these sites on board, Jet says it holds a 22% market share of the Scottish fuel market and has more branded dealer sites across Scotland than Shell, Harvest Energy, and Murco combined.

News in brief

Certas chooses Londis

Certas Energy has announced a preferred supplier arrangement with Londis that will provide Certas-supplied filling stations with a fast track to Londis for expert business advice and consultancy as they look to grow revenues. "We see this as a very positive addition to the range of benefits already available to our dealers," said Ramsay MacDonald, retail director, Certas Energy.

Euro Garages confirms 38% boost in profits

A boost in profits of nearly 40% has been confirmed by Forecourt Trader of the Year winner Euro Garages, which attributes its success to a combination of strategic site acquisitions and the ongoing success of brand partnerships with Starbucks, Subway and Greggs. Reporting results for the year to July 31, 2013, the Blackburn-based company also revealed a similar increase in turnover of 40% to £439m (2012: £314m).

Second Regus Express opens on M25

One year on from the launch of its workspaces at UK motorway service stations, Regus has announced the opening of a second 'Regus Express' on the M25. The business centre has opened at Roadchef's Clacket Lane motorway services in Kent, offering co-working space, ThinkPods (private workstations), meeting rooms and business support such as cloud-based printing.

Turnover increase for Symonds

Top 50 Indie Symonds Forecourts Group has announced an increase in turnover in its annual results.

Fuel thieves caught in act

Thieves attempting to steal diesel from a filling station in Carlisle were foiled after an alarm was tripped and police raced to the scene and caught them in the act. The incident occurred at Carleton Filling Station, which is owned by Top 50 Indie Hills of Corby, on the night of December 28-29.

Certas chooses HTEC

Certas Energy (formerly GB Oils) is rolling out new card payment terminals to its network of dealers.