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Shell Abridge on the A113 London Road Abridge, Essex
01 December, 2004

GENERAL APPEARANCE: This joint-branded Shell Mace Express site is impressive. It stands a little above the road and the Shell branding screams out at motorists and many appear to stop to refuel and to use the shop. To one side of the forecourt is an accident repair/MOT/second-hand car sales centre and to the rear of the shop, a large commercial yard. There is limited parking and during my visit vehicles seemed to be abandoned here, there and everywhere.

Are you ready for Christmas?
01 December, 2004

We know that as this issue drops through your letterbox you’re stressed about all of those orders and deliveries to ensure that you can keep your customers happy right up to Christmas. However we really do suggest that perhaps it won’t hurt if you find a quiet spot – maybe at the back of the storeroom – make yourself a nice cup of tea, and sit down for half an hour to catch up, and check-off those things that might get overlooked in the

All pull together
01 December, 2004

There’s never been more attention paid to low-level crime (litter, graffiti, drive-offs as opposed to shotgun-up-your-nostrils) by the authorities. The government has its anti-social behaviour orders and most communities have some form of crimewatch. But most impressive of all is Kent Police. I’ve reported on the success of their Forecourt Watch scheme before which has now been widened to the point that Kent Police have a protocol in place for all the forecourts on their patch.

Stamp duty
01 December, 2004

Another complaint about the Royal Mail. As I’ve reported previously in this column, the margin on first class stamps may have gone up to 7%, but the reduction on second class stamps to 3% has really put some of you off.

Wrong data
01 December, 2004

Some information I passed on in the last issue about Data Protection wasn’t quite the full ticket. I pointed out a refinement to the Data Protection Act 1998 which excuses retailers from registering if they have static cameras which don’t particularly target anyone.

At your service
01 December, 2004

Specialist retail research agency ESA has been working closely with Total UK for seven years, setting up and running a tailored mystery-shopping programme. The programme has enabled Total to monitor, assess and improve customer service and its forecourt facilities to ensure the overall service offered exceeds that of its competitors and encourages customer loyalty. Total had realised that while it had a strong network of sites in terms of store size and location, it had no real coherent understanding of what level of service was on offer to the customer.

Community spirits
01 December, 2004

Rural winner of the year 2004

Scrubbing up
01 December, 2004

Car washing offers the most impressive margins on the forecourt, but with retailers placing a greater focus on their shops, equipment is being neglected by many operators, according to UK car wash suppliers.

Power trip
01 December, 2004

Batteries, cameras and films may not be a forecourt trader’s bread and butter but they do offer the chance to make a tidy extra profit, particularly over the Christmas period.

Hot ticket
01 December, 2004

If you go down to your local cinema today you’re in for a big surprise – especially if you haven’t been there for some time. That’s because cinemas are buzzing. They’ve never been so popular – each week some 3.5 million people go to see a film and that’s the highest audience number since 1954.

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