One in ten European service stations won’t have any staff by 2013
The need to cut costs combined with a slow decline in diesel and petrol sales has forced many of the fuel retailers across Europe to turn service stations into unmanned fueling sites according to a new survey by Verdict from the Datamonitor Group. In fact, the group predicts that by the year 2013 one out of every ten service stations inEuropewill not have staff forcing motorists to pay using fully automated payment options.
Research* by Verdict discovered that 3% of manned service stations were contracted since 2008 but 5% of unmanned stations were contracted. Many fuel retailers that have decided to expand their unmanned fueling stations include those offered by the top grocery chains such as ABC, Neste, Tesco, St 1, and Colruyt. Larger oil companies such as Q8 and Esso have also followed suit and according to Verdict this trend will continue.
Alex Jeater, retail analyst at Verdict said: “Unmanned service stations, which typically sell cheaper fuel than regular petrol stations, are a common sight across Europe, especially inScandinavia,Franceand theBeneluxregion. InFinland, for example, 54% of all service stations are unmanned. However we’ll see more unmanned service stations open in theUK,Germany,SpainandItaly, as fuel retailers look to reduce fixed costs such as staffing, while maintaining fuel sales.”
However, Jeater is keen to stress that 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 at a smaller number of busier, better located service stations”.