Forecourt Trader
Shell follows BP with new diesel

Hot on the heels of BP’s Ultimate Diesel launch last month, Shell is now introducing a new UK diesel which it says will cost the same as its normal diesel while giving better performance and improved emissions. BP Ultimate is premium priced.

Now Mick's off to Europe, meet John

Shell UK Oil has confirmed that Mick McMahon, retail director for the UK & Ireland, will be moving on to a new post within Shell.

Maxol buys Connors

The Maxol Group has now completed the purchase of the remaining shareholding in Connors Fuels, following its acquisition of a controlling interest in the company in October 2000. It has since extended and re-imaged the company as Maxol Direct.

More red tape for alcohol licensees

A Government turnaround is forcing all alcohol licence holders to renew their licences in February under the current system.

Much cleaner with gleaner

Highland-based Gleaner Oil and Gas – in partnership with Shell – is expanding its LPG refuelling facilities over the next two years – with 50 per cent of the Gleaner/Shell branded sites installed by the end of 2005.

Texaco launches online credit card

A new, flexible, online credit card offering up to 1.6 per cent cashback and a balance transfer rate of 5.9 per cent for the life of the balance (14.9 per cent typical APR variable), has been launched by Texaco and credit card innovators Accucard, part of Create Services.

Apathy hindering progress on crime

Retailer apathy could be hindering the industry’s chances of getting on top of forecourt crime, according to PRA director Ray Holloway.

Pump sticker action

Trading Standards officers throughout the East Midlands have joined forces in a UK-first to let motorists know they’re getting their money’s worth of fuel.

Texaco alcohol licence plan rejected

Police in an East Midlands city plagued by under-age drink sales have rammed home their zero-tolerance message by saying ‘no’ to their next door neighbours – Texaco.

Londis appeals for new recruits

Londis is hoping to sign up more forecourt stores with a new recruitment offer, which includes 20 per cent off the Londis Express fascia until the end of January 2004.The group has reappraised its forecourt range and space allocation and has briefed a range of specialist suppliers to cover every area of direct supply, from flowers to car care.

All change

It’s all change at Total UK as Malcolm Jones is promoted to managing director and Marc Dagniaux takes his place as retail marketing director. The previous managing director, Gary Jones, has gone to Singapore to head up Total’s Asian activities.

Going strong at 82

Could this be the oldest member of the forecourt industry’s workforce?

'Business as usual', says Coalite MD

Rumours concerning the non-availability of Coalite pre-packed smokeless coal for the forecourt are totally unfounded. The past few months have seen continuous sniping at the company from some quarters with talk of product unavailability. The facts are that we have never been unable to supply our product when ordered. It delivers some of the best retail margins in the sector and we are determined to take whatever action is necessary to protect our brand and our business. I would like personally to reassure all those who have previously bought Coalite, or would like to stock Coalite, simply to place an order through your usual channels. If you happen to get a negative response, call us on 01246 820000 and we will take immediate action to remedy the situation. As part of our new strategy we have plans for the installation of Coalite’s own pre-pack plant at Bolsover and the future launch of new products.

Words fail

Are you still selling phone top-ups? Steve Dyer, manager of Knight Bros Thornfalcon Garage at Taunton in Somerset, has sent me a rant. Cardpoint had written to say that Orange had reduced its retailer margins on e-top-ups by 0.5 per cent.

Pay up

I don’t like to worry you but the £5 an hour minimum wage approaches. I know this because the Department of Trade and Industry pointed it out in a recent email. The email was a reminder that the national minimum wage was to rise on October 1 to £4.50 an hour for adults and £3.80 for those aged 18-21.

Selling money

Have you had a go at offering financial services yet? Automated teller machines come in many flavours – full service, self-fill, free-standing, inserted into brick walls – so there should be something to suit every shop. Andrew Clark, who runs my local garage just off London’s Southend Road/North Circular, had looked at all the possibilities and had come to a number of conclusions. “I don’t want one in the store – there’s not enough space. I don’t want self-fill either. I want someone else to look after it.”

Who's working for you?

IT SEEMS THAT hardly a week goes by without news of another ‘round-up’ of illegal workers somewhere in the country. Following one such recent swoop in the Midlands, Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes was reported as commenting: “Illegal working will not be tolerated – it encourages illegal immigration, exploits the workers themselves and undermines legitimate business competition. Our increasing enforcement activity in the Midlands, and around the country, should send a clear warning to those deliberately employing illegal workers that they will be caught and prosecuted.”

Showtime in Chicago

Hypermarkets are beginning to encroach on the petrol retailing business in the US in the same way they did in Europe more than 10 years ago, according to Stan Sheetz, president and chief executive of Pennsylvania-based Sheetz Inc, which runs a chain of 298 convenience and service stations in the Mid-Atlantic region. He has also just assumed chairmanship of the board for NACS – America’s National Association of Convenience Stores – which held its annual show last month in Chicago. The show featured more than 1,300 exhibitors organised into six major product areas covering the needs of convenience store and fuel retailers, as well as a programme of seminars.

Meals in minutes

Cash rich, time poor consumers have no time to wait. If they want a meal they want it now and if not now, then in a couple of minutes.

Festive fare

Christmas seems to come round quicker every year, and shoppers have been bombarded with festive displays in the High Street for some time. But if you’re unprepared for those extra sales in the lead up to Christmas and New Year, there’s still plenty of time.

Flexible piping which bends to suit

A new pipework system designed for both suction and pressure applications, is being marketed by a Worcestershire-based company, Petrofuse ZP.

Why queue when you've got yq?

Vendlink International and brand-leading pos printer manufacturer Star Micronics, have confirmed the country-wide roll out of a self-service unit developed for pre-paid mobile telephone top up.

Sign of the time

HL Display has launched a complete range of display components and accessories to fulfil every retailer’s need whether you wish to suspend signs from ceilings, notices on windows, clip items onto poles or assemble card structures. The product range includes freestanding and self-adhesive card holders, hang-clips for mobiles, wire spirals, mini flags, ceiling hooks plus self-adhesive and magnetic anchor points. To assist the application of ceiling suspended displays a choice of telescopic mounting rods is also available in 1400mm and 2800mm lengths. Also from HL Display is ‘Slimline’, which is described as providing the retailer with a complete shelf-edge in-store communication system. It combines product details, pricing information, shelf-edge promotions as well as space-saving benefits. 01652 686502

Wheel of fortune

Curiosities 4 Kids has introduced The Travel Wheel – an interactive travel toy, aimed at three to nine-year-olds.

'Happiness' goes on

Following the tobacco advertising ban, Hamlet cigars are continuing its famous ‘Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet’ strapline by introducing a limited edition ‘Happiness’ pack in the run up to Christmas.

Cadbury launches Easter 2004 range

Cadbury Trebor Bassett’s new comprehensive Easter range will target the enormous potential of the second biggest ‘occasion’ of the year behind Christmas, when 68 per cent of the population either purchase or receive confectionery.

Valentine's treats

Kinnerton has a launched a range of chocolate gifts for Valentine’s Day. Simpsons Heart Cards are available in two designs featuring Homer, each with a chocolate heart inside. Rrp is 99p. The chocolate Homer Love Lolly also has a rrp of 99p and comes in three different designs. Take Away Love are cartons of foiled milk chocolate hearts (rrp 99p), and with a rrp of 59p are heart-shaped chocolate lollies.

Sweet and sour gum

Bubble gum brand Bubblicious is now available in two new flavours – Savage Sour Apple and Blue Blowout.

First aid for your car

The Buster winter car care products are now available in a gift pack. Buster Winter First Aid Kit (Rrp £7.99) contains pre-icer, de-icer and Ice Clear, which clears ice and snow from driveways, paths and steps. Pre-icer is also available in a 500ml trigger bottle, while Ice Clear also comes in an individual 750g flip-top container.

Occasion stickers

Stick-a -Card has launched a range of self adhesive greetings cards for gifts.

Hovis rolls go square

British Bakeries has launched Hovis Square Rolls. The packs, which feature the beans, tomatoes and Best of Both designs, will stand upright on shelf for easier merchandising and act as a signpost for the category. There are five varieties – white medium x6, white large x4, white medium x12, wholemeal medium x6 and Best of Both medium x6. Support includes a TV ad campaign.

Character building

Cartoon characters Wallace and Gromit are to be the new face of Jacob’s Crackers.

Mo'gas: An irreverent view from the network

‘ROLL UP, ROLL UP....closing at a location near you. Be one of the last people to buy a gallon before it shuts.’ All over Britain the shutters are going up and the fascias are coming down as the oiler’s finally concede that not only will the hypers not disappear but also that they’re not going to change a winning formula.

Fuel prices November 2003

Data supplied by Catalist Ltd