Future forecourts will have everything from dry cleaners to pharmacists: Maxol

Future forecourts will have everything from dry cleaners to pharmacists: Maxol

Maxol predicts that Irish forecourts will grow bigger and deliver more goods and services in the future, with the potential of offering everything from dry cleaners to pharmacists on one site.

CEO Brian Donaldson predicts that one key trend of the future will be the larger format site as the forecourt delivers more for local communities.

Speaking to IF&CR, he said: “I think that in retail the most important thing is always location – when we’re looking at businesses, we ‘re looking to develop those locations where there is a large catchment of houses and where people are working every day. They’re always going to require your services no matter what form of transport they use.

“Coffee will continue to be a staple of what stores will highlight – people will go where they can get a good  coffee and where the quality is consistent in store.. Stores will also need to have a good extensive range of groceries, fresh and chilled, including dairy products, meat products and baked goods.

“People want to be able to come in and get everything in one visit rather than multiple visits to different stores. We could be seeing dry cleaners, pharmacies – basically anything that gives people another reason to come to the store is important including fast food, which we have already introduced at some of our sites.

“Another thing that is going to be very important is the look and feel of how the store is presented and good customer service is very much to the fore.”

The forecourt itself is expected to undergo major change, not just in terms of the range of energy and fuel products it supplies but how it is laid out, Mr Donaldson said.

His comments come as Maxol announces it will be carrying out extensive works at three sites in Downpatrick, Kinnegar Holywood and Edenderry where EV charging, more services, and retail and hospitality-based outlets will be the norm.

The company has also announced a €20M investment for 2022 across multiple sites including Sandyford in Dublin, Castletroy in Limerick, Kilkenny, Clarecastle in Ennis and Donore Road.

“Our view is that there is still a large business in selling petrol and diesel for the next 10 years and more. But by the mid point of this decade you will see more charging points for electric vehicles as more of these are sold in the market,” Mr Donaldson said.

“Then we’re looking to green hydrogen which we see as being the right fuel for HGVs and commercial vehicles, but that is still very much in development. You only have to look at what Wrightbus are doing with some of the councils in terms of hydrogen buses being used to get an insight into what’s possible.

“What we would see in the future is that a wider range of energies and fuels will be sold from our sites, but to accommodate all of that, you need a bigger footprint and bigger sites,” Mr Donaldson said.