Europe: unmanned service station numbers are set to increase out to 2013

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20 October 2011, Oil

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Verdict research has revealed that while Europe's network of manned service stations has contracted by 3%, or 3,622 stations, since 2008, the number of unmanned stations has increased by almost 5%. Fuel retailers that have expanded their unmanned operations include grocery chains Tesco, ABC, and Colruyt, and Scandinavian players Neste, Statoil, and St1, as well as large oil companies such as Esso and Q8. The trend is going to continue, with Verdict predicting the network of fully automated forecourts to increase by 3.7% by 2013.

Unmanned service stations, which typically sell cheaper fuel than regular petrol stations, are a common sight across Europe, especially in Scandinavia, France, and the Benelux region. In Finland, for example, 54% of all service stations are unmanned. However we will start to see more unmanned service stations opening in the UK, Germany, Spain, and Italy, as fuel retailers look to reduce fixed costs such as staffing, while maintaining fuel sales.

However, the expected rise in unmanned sites does not signal the end for the service station convenience store. Converting some service stations to "unmanned" allows fuel retailers to develop a comprehensive convenience store offering at a smaller number of busier and better located service stations.

Source: Datamonitor

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