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Benchmark 2004
01 March, 2005

The easiest way of summing up 2004’s results would be ‘steady as she goes’. It didn’t produce many really dramatic trends on the forecourt. Yes, consumers railed against high fuel prices, and some majors are now reporting astronomical profit levels, just as we are reminded those profits originate ‘upstream’, and there’s no profit in UK fuel retailing... So, as far as our ‘average forecourt’ is concerned, what can we report?

It's enough to make you sick
01 March, 2005

We are all more or less used to the try-it-on culture but when customers return stuff along with threats “to report you”, you are bound to look over your shoulder.

Driving down drive-offs
01 March, 2005

I must put my hand up and say that I did a drive-off the other day. However, it was at my local station and I did wave at the checkout a lot as I drove very slowly out and point to the husband who was waiting in the queue to pay. But I saw that no-one noticed me waving or driving off very very slowly and so it brought home the point that this can be a very easy crime to commit if you are relying on just your eyesight and bit of camera kit.

Building with bricks
01 March, 2005

Just enough space left to tell you about a nifty little service you can register with, for free, which passes on an interesting range of ideas/thoughts/opinions to nearly 10,000 small business owners who have already subscribed. Run by the government-funded Small Business Service, ‘Business Bricks’ is written and sent out weekly by Matt Weston via email. It’s good-natured, entertaining and it often makes you stop and think. If you want to register email him on

Moving goalposts
01 March, 2005

The BP Connect programme continues to roll on with 170 sites now in operation, 10 under construction, and another 50 scheduled for development this year. And BP’s retail director Graham Sims is looking forward to the grand opening later this year of the two biggest Connect outlets in Europe.

Majors net a winner
01 March, 2005

July 1 last year saw ConocoPhillips go live with a major initiative to improve two-way communications with its Jet dealers through the launch of a secure customer extranet website and an end to paper invoicing. Two months later the CPNet online invoicing development scooped Jet the award for Best Oil Company Initiative in the Forecourt Trader of the Year awards.

Best motorway site 2004
01 March, 2005

Since RoadChef’s forecourt on the M6 toll road opened in December 2003, business has gone from strength to strength as the new road becomes more popular with motorists.

Retail is detail
01 March, 2005

Attention to detail can make the difference between average and outstanding. Try using the following rules – courtesy of Harris International Marketing – to enhance your overall store offer. Shoppers have more choice than ever of where to buy snacks and top-up items – make sure it’s your store they choose...

Whats the story
01 March, 2005

Newspapers and magazines have been hitting the headlines themselves lately, with the ongoing debate over territorial supply and carriage charges, not to mention the regular wrangles over inserts and returns.

Chill factor
01 March, 2005

With the likes of Sainsbury and Tesco on the forecourt convenience shopping scene, independent operators are increasingly faced with the challenge to develop their fresh and chilled foods offering. And judging by some of the independent sites in the network, many are succeeding too.

Following a deal agreed with Harvest Energy, do you think it will be good to see the Total brand returning to UK forecourts?