A forum discussing all things forecourt will be taking place on March 3 in the Stormont Hotel, Belfast.
Hosted by the Petrol Retailers Association, the forum will hear from chairman Brian Madderson on the latest developments for the sector and the outlook for the year ahead.
Mr Madderson will be joined by two senior research consultants from Accenture following a ‘study tour’ of Northern Ireland’s market-leading mix of forecourt and convenience outlets.
A full range of topics will be covered both by the PRA and sponsors, while attendees will also have an opportunity to chat and network with other petrol retailers.
The event is free-of-charge to both PRA members and non-members, with free parking and a buffet lunch.
The forum kicks off at 10am, and registration can be completed online at www.ukpra.co.uk/events/live-and-local
The event takes place within weeks of the PRA submitting its Budget 2016 proposals to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne.
In its submission, the PRA points out that since 2001, over 4,000 (60 per cent) independent forecourts have closed, according to analysts Experian Catalist.
“This trend continues with between 150 and 200 sites still closing every year,” it states. “It is essential that consideration be made to these important but struggling businesses when developing economic policy.”
Among its stated priorities, the PRA urges the Government to tackle the illicit tobacco trade, and to maintain the current level of duty on tobacco, alcohol, and fuels.
It also calls for action on business rates and a crackdown on hand car wash businesses, which the PRA says are not registering to pay business rates.