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November

Silveys M32 services, Bristol
01 November, 2004

GENERAL APPEARANCE: This joint-branded Shell/Londis Express site is architecturally distinctive with a large M32 sign secured by a series of cables towering above the shop. Intense use has been made of a difficult shaped position but one, which I guess might test the patience of drivers at certain times.

Slow down or reverse?
01 November, 2004

Back in September’s issue we asked whether the forecourt shop sales were starting to run out of steam, given some rather disappointing Database figures from June. Well, the rest of summer 2004 proved to be even more disappointing than those early results from June had suggested, as just a quick glance at the ‘Comparator’ table for the latest available figures (August) will illustrate: our Monthly Shop Sales value is lower in cash terms than it was a year earlier – £53,558 against £54,233. Since we started publishing the current Database format back in 1996 we have only had two previous occasions where the current month’s sales value was lower than it had been 12 months previously – and both of those (September 2000 and February 2001) were isolated results for special reasons (the fuel blockade and comparison to leap year, respectively).

The choice is yours
01 November, 2004

Or is it? The grocery supply chain is generally thought to be a fairly free and fluid thing. You can more or less buy your baked beans from anybody. The government hasn’t had to intervene the way it did with banks to make it easier for you to shop around and move your account. Or the way it did with newspaper distributors to make supplies more readily available to willing outlets.

What's the real deal?
01 November, 2004

How important is price? What a question to ask retailers. Owen McKay, who runs Smithy Garage at Warrington in Cheshire, thinks that image is important but that it is inextricably linked to price.

Change for the better
01 November, 2004

There’s been a refinement to the Data Protection Act 1998 which means that retailers with basic CCTV cameras – the type that cannot zoom in and out – no longer have to register with the Information Commissioner. The thinking behind this is that you are not ‘targeting’ anyone with a static camera that is just there for your own protection. If you use it to keep tabs on staff though, you do need to register.

The great crusade
01 November, 2004

When interviewing Forecourt Trader of the Year winners, there’s always a common theme that runs through the ensuing features, with words like skill, enthusiasm, foresight, shrewdness and determination being readily apparent. But what brings all these elements together to create a winning formula is the ability to work incredibly hard. Peter and Pat Bellini are no exception. This year it was their turn to emerge as frontrunners at this year’s awards in the face of stiff competition, and again the superlatives will get an airing.

Raising the bar
01 November, 2004

Four site redevelopments in 15 months might be more than one feat too many for most retailers, but not for Robert and Hugh Fraser of the Thames Valley-based Fraser Group. The brothers relished such a mighty task, and with their inspiring enthusiasm, hard work and business nous – not to mention guts – they have just completed their final project.

Christmas presence
01 November, 2004

Christmas comes but once a year, so the opportunity to cash in on extra sales in the lead up to Christmas is not to be missed. Whether it’s meeting the demands of shoppers on their way to a party with some chilled wine and beer, or keeping stocked up with snacks to satisfy customers’ needs for last-minute entertaining, opportunities for sales are aplenty in the festive season.

Full of fizz
01 November, 2004

Amid changing licensing laws (see news extra p14) off licences are fast becoming an integral part of the forecourt shop’s offer, helping to boost total shop turnover through increased footfall. And according to Insight Research there are now about 2,150 forecourts – about 20% of the network across all types of operation – with a licence to sell alcohol.

Speedy solutions
01 November, 2004

The time-pushed consumer has never had it so good – manufacturers have been busy spending millions on research and technology to come up with meal solutions that are not only quick and easy to prepare but have a quality taste and feel to them too. The market – catering to those on the way home from work or mid-week top-up shoppers – has now expanded to include everything from chilled pasta and ready meals to microwaveable rice and takeaway-style meal kits.

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