BP Retail is trialling a franchise scheme for its BP Connect forecourt outlets.
The company has sold the Crow Orchard Connect in Wigan and the Maynestone Connect in Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire, to independent dealers who will run them under franchise.
A further trial site will open in Bournemouth before Christmas. If the three pilot shops are successful, the company aims to establish 20 franchise Connect outlets in 2006.
BP Retail said it would particularly be looking to bring on board existing forecourt retailers currently operating outside the BP Connect estate.
However, some would be company-owned stores sold to operators under franchise. BP said it would continue to own and manage many Connects, but the franchise scheme was a way to further format growth.
“Franchisees can add entrepreneurial flair to the business,” said Graham Sims, BP Connect UK retail director. “There are few opportunities to acquire new sites and new build sites are very rare.”
The move follows trials linking BP Connect with M&S Simply Food stores as part of a wider overhaul of the format.
Revamped stores include a Wild Bean Café, an impulse area, a themed section and a Simply Food section. Eight BP Connect/Simply Food shops have so far opened.
BP Retail said there were no plans to roll out the Simply Food concept to franchise sites.
US-based wholesaler Costco is gearing up to announce the location of its 18th UK depot. Costco UK MD Francis Ball said that he aimed to make an announcement by Christmas and that it would be open by the summer. The wholesaler intends to open three outlets a year in the UK.

Sainsbury has launched its first-ever whole category promotion in frozen food. It is offering 20% off all frozen foods. The push is being supported by a TV, press and radio campaign. The offer is in addition to Christmas deals on frozen party bites and turkey.

Tesco will have more than 4,350 stores and a turnover of £63bn by 2010, according to a report by IGD. Almost half the stores will be outside the UK, it predicts, compared with 25% today. India, Russia and the US are the most likely new markets for growth.

The Midcounties Co-operative is the most generous retailer, returning 12.4% of its profit to the community, according to business in the community initiative The Percent Standard. Sainsbury returned 2.7%, John Lewis 2.12%, M&S 1.28% and Tesco 1.1%.

The C&C Group is taking legal action against French food company Danone over the loss of its €12m contract to distribute the Evian and Volvic brands in Ireland, allegedly without any reason given.

ChoicesUK Local, which supplies home entertainment products to the c-store sector, has launched a promotion offering a free DVD player. The company said shop managers could treat it as a Christmas staff incentive, a prize in a raffle for shoppers or take it home for their own use.
Rod Addy
costco’s 18th
the big freeze
global colossus
giving it back
legal action
very watchable