Certas broadens Scottish network

Certas Energy has strengthened its forecourt network with the acquisition of two sites in Forfar and Nairn, previously owned by The Co-operative.

Ramsay MacDonald - Scottish Grocer
Ramsay MacDonald, retail director, Certas Energy

Both are now Gulf-branded with work currently underway to transform the respective 2,000 sq ft and 1,500 sq ft shops into Spar convenience stores. The tie-up between Certas Energy and CJ Lang & Son is a first for Certas Energy as the Larbert-based fuel supplier continues to develop its forecourt and convenience offering across Scotland.
“Working in tandem with CJ Lang and its Spar brand represents an exciting departure for both Certas Energy and our flagship brand Gulf,” said Ramsay MacDonald, retail director, Certas Energy.
“It brings together an internationally respected fuel brand with a 100-year track record of delivering high-quality fuels and lubricants and a powerful convenience name, backed by decades of retailing expertise and local knowledge. We believe the tie-up will maximise the potential for both sites.
“There are people who can see no further than a symbol brand roadside and in doing so miss out on the high-value opportunity that a respected fuel brand provides. The Gulf name is well-regarded by the Scottish motoring public and its high performance fuel, Endurance, is inextricably linked to Gulf and its racing heritage. On some sites Endurance represents around 25% of a site’s gross margin. Why would you put that level of business at risk?”
The two former Co-op sites currently pump a combined total of 5m litres a year. With extended opening hours, heavy promotion of the Gulf account card to local businesses and Gulf’s cross-acceptance agreement with the Shell and BP fuel cards, MacDonald expects volumes to increase to 7m a year.
“It’s a realistic assessment having seen fuel sales grow by over 30% on most of our acquisitions,” said MacDonald. “We also have high hopes that shop turnovers will increase by around 40% from their current £1m per year.”
Certas Energy currently supplies fuel to over 1,200 retail outlets across the UK including a network of 23 company-owned sites in Scotland.