Supermarket chains to boost forecourt design

Traditional petrol stations are investing heavily in forecourt design as supermarket chains increase their market presence by embarking on a free-standing forecourt frenzy.

The fledgling Tesco Express petrol station and mini-store chain is to open its fourth site next week at Chipping Ongar in Essex. All four have been designed by Woburn-based Omnis Design, which has also designed the retail identity after early work in-house at Tesco.

Omnis will work on the next nine Tesco Express sites to open by next March.

Sainsbury’s is considering 60 sites adjacent to or visible from existing retail sites, implementing the in-house design used at the supermarket’s 166 on-site petrol stations.

“Tesco Express is causing immense grief to a lot of big oil companies,” says retail consultant Clive Vaughan at market analyst Verdict Research. “I am sure Safeway and Asda will follow [Tesco and Sainsbury’s],” he adds. But a spokeswoman for Safeway, which has 111 on-site petrol stations, denies there are plans for free-standing forecourts.

Many oil companies are rolling out new retail designs in an effort to compete with conventional shops and keep up with supermarket petrol sites and rival chains.

Elf Oil UK has a new image and shop format by Glasgow’s Ferguson Orr Associates (DW 4 August). The first new design will be unveiled this month in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire.

20/20 and Ove Arup & Partners have revamped Texaco’s forecourts and the concept is currently being piloted.

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