Certas solutions for independents

Retail director Richard Billington sets out the Gulf case for independent forecourt retailers in Scotland

Certas Energy retail director Richard Billington said there will be plenty of investment in the Gulf brand in 2019

LARBERT-based Certas Energy is eyeing further growth in 2019, with plans afoot to invest in the Gulf fuel brand in a bid to grow revenues for retailers.

Richard Billington, retail director at Certas Energy, revealed the fuel supplier has ambitions to pick up more independent retail customers this year, and he encouraged those nearing the end of their contracts to consider Gulf.

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“Our message to the independent sector is that if you are nearing the end of your supply arrangement, the time is right to consider a business partnership with Gulf Retail,” he said.

“Our investment in all aspects of the Gulf brand, to protect and grow the revenues of our dealers, will continue through 2019 and we anticipate further network expansion as we unveil a range of exciting initiatives over the coming months.”

Billington said Certas has been listening to feedback from independent forecourt retailers and plans to introduce “real innovation to our offering” in 2019.

“We currently have a network of 108 sites across Scotland from the Borders to the Isles including 25 company owned sites, most of which are situated the across the central belt.

“This enables us to use our size and scale to offer options to our dealers to help them grow their profitability through tried and tested initiatives run on our own sites,” he said.

The Gulf forecourt network is managed from Certas Energy’s offices near Falkirk and Billington said the firm has “real ambition” to become the leading forecourt brand in Scotland.

“Last year Certas delivered six billion litres of product across the UK, more than any fuel supplier.

“We are in possession of some of the most competitive supply arrangements in the industry and remain committed to grow the Gulf network organically and through acquisition.

“The dealer market is our core business and we believe we have the right solution to future proof the business of almost any dealer in Scotland.

“That could be through a competitive supply arrangement, buying the site or by way of a lease arrangement where we take on the business and provide the owner with a regular income.

“Nothing is off the table and we have the funds, the flexibility and agility to move quickly,” he said.

• One Gulf branded forecourt that appears to be thriving since teaming up with Certas Energy is Luss Filling Station, located on the shores of Loch Lomond.

Greig Dickson, regional manager at Certas Energy suggested the site is something of a proof of concept for the firm’s strategy in Scotland.

“Over time, the supermarket chains have decimated the independent forecourt sector and with such low margins on fuels, those in rural areas without other forms of revenue struggle to survive.

“At Certas Energy, we are trying  to halt the decline in numbers with a range of innovative supply solutions, specifically for the low volume retailer, including full automation.”