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Pump price war - small traders in danger

PUBLISHED: 08:37 13 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

CRITICISMS over a new supermarket pump-price war have been made by a family which runs a village petrol station.

Safeway launched the price offensive on Monday by slashing its prices by up to 20p off a litre of fuel for customers who spent £150 on their shopping.

CRITICISMS over a new supermarket pump-price war have been made by a family which runs a village petrol station.

Safeway launched the price offensive on Monday by slashing its prices by up to 20p off a litre of fuel for customers who spent £150 on their shopping.

Shoppers will also get 12p off a litre of fuel if they spend £100 at Safeway stores, 5p off if they spend £50 and 2p off if they spend £25. Asda responded by cutting 0.8p off a litre of fuel, sparking a forecourt price war.

But the battle of the pumps was condemned by the Leeks family, which runs Stowupland Service Station, near Stowmarket.

Ivan Leeks, a 51-year-old director at the garage, said: "Safeway will be selling at a tremendous loss, it's ridiculous. This is a gimmick and will not help small traders."

His wife Sheila, 46, added: "We just can't believe it. To sell at 20p off in the current economic climate is ridiculous."

Philip Dingle, regional spokesman for the Petrol Retailers' Association, warned the threat to the livelihoods of small garages would escalate if the supermarkets prolonged the price war.

"It's an ongoing effect and means the rural garage is squeezed out when they are struggling to make money," he said.

"One in two will go out of business. Then people in little villages with no garage are forced to trek 10 to 15 miles to the supermarket for petrol, which is where they do their shopping, thereby forcing out the local shops."

The price war has been launched as world demand for crude oil has slowed, leading to excess production, which has in turn resulted in a drop in the market price.

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