Retail News March 2022

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18|Retail News|March 2022|www.retailnews.ie

Forecourt Focus: Analysing the Market

Forecourt market remains robust

Ireland’s forecourt sector is in good shape, according to the latest data from international experts Experian Catalist.

The impact of Covid The first Catalist forecourt database for Ireland was created about 25 years ago and its original principles are still applicable today. The basis of the data is from visiting

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all the sites across Ireland on a regular basis. A team of Experian Catalist surveyors visit c. 1000 forecourts a year and they are tasked with establishing the annual running rate for both motor fuel volume (petrol & under canopy diesel) and forecourt shop sales for every forecourt. They collect annualised running rates rather than actual historical volumes as this allows direct comparisons over time, allows for new sites coming on stream, and is not complicated by periods out of the market due to redevelopment or temporary closures etc. Under normal circumstances (i.e. preCovid) the volume/sales figures would be directly comparable with the previous year. However, due to Coronavirus, Experian Catalist’s surveyors have not been able to physically visit sites for most of 2020 and whilst they have been updating their data via telephone surveying, they have been careful not to skew the motor fuel & shop volumes with the temporary reduced fuel volumes seen over the past year or so. Indeed, Experien are are hopeful that the volume estimates in the database will effectively reflect the market’s “back to normal” trading conditions, James explains. “Our surveyors are now out visiting sites and the Experian Catalist published figures for the annualised fuel and shop volumes should come back into line over the next year or so,” he reveals.

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THE Irish forecourt sector is in good health, according to the latest data from Experian Catalist, the London-based experts who provide a leading global source of information and analysis on petrol and retail forecourts. The number of forecourts in the country has risen by 34 to 1,905, according to the latest figures from Experian Catalist’s 2021 Market Summary Report, although James Haigh, Business Consultant with Experian Catalist, believes this is a sign of an industry that is relatively stable rather than growing. “A large part of this increase is a reflection of the fact that our surveyor in Ireland was unable to physically survey due to having to isolate, so he carried out a lot of desk based research which saw him pick up a number of new sites,” James explains. “For the most part these were ‘one pump wonders’ in more isolated locations. We have seen a few NTI (New to Industry) sites developed, which balances with the site closures one always expects – I certainly don’t think the market is expanding but is reasonably stable.”

James Haigh, Business Consultant with Experian Catalist.