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November

All change
01 November, 2003

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
01 November, 2003

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

'Business as usual', says Coalite MD
01 November, 2003

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
01 November, 2003

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
01 November, 2003

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
01 November, 2003

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?
01 November, 2003

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
01 November, 2003

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
01 November, 2003

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
01 November, 2003

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.

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