Written by Nic Moulis

Director, Customer Relationship Data, on behalf of OPIS by IHSMarkit

Led by X-Convenience out of South Australia, independent branded locations have grown year-on-year faster than the big brands.

OPIS data from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, reveals that while Caltex and BP may be the strongest brands by number, X-Convenience, Westside, Liberty and Vibe where some of the strongest brands by growth.

In total, during the 2020 financial year, the number of service stations in Australian grow by 0.33%, from 7039 to 7062. Caltex held the mantel for the most branded locations in Australia at 1302. Following them came BP 1231, Coles 724 and EG Woolworths 564.

Unbranded independent sites, those that do not fit into any recognised brand category, was 635. That is 8.99% of the number of sites.

What is similar with these groups of large site numbers is their lack of physical store growth. Caltex in the financial year 2019-2020, declined by -2.54% or 34 sites. BP was down -0.40% and Unbranded down -1.70%.

The best performing brand of those networks over 400 stores was 7-Eleven with growth of 2.95%, adding 16 new stores in the financial year to 30 June 2020.

Coles grow by eight stores, a 1.12% increase in store numbers.

United, at 433 sites in total at the end of June 2020, declined their number by -2.04%.

The real action was branded independents.

X-Convenience added nine stores in South Australia: growth of 47.37%. Westside grew by 12.82% with five new sites, to reach a total of 44 locations.

Costco built one new site in FY2020, an increase of 12.50%.

Vibe in Western Australia increased their branded locations by three stores.

Metro and Liberty with 228 and 175 branded forecourts respectively grew too. Metro, adding most of their new stores in QLD and NSW grew by 6.05%.

Liberty had their strongest store growth in QLD, where they increased the branded locations by seven stores in 12 months. Overall Liberty grew by 7.36% across the country.

OTR marched into VIC with 3 new store openings; there looks to more to come in FY2021. This combined with some in SA had OTR grow their physical store count by 2.92%.

Mobil, as they moved closer to their goal of reigniting the forecourt brand in Australia, have reached 110 sites. This was up 3.77% on the close of last financial year. The Mobil number excludes the Mobil branded X-Convenience locations. This means most Mobil branded locations remain in NSW.

Enhance have ventured out of their usual stomping ground, now with a single location in both QLD and VIC. While in NSW they continued to grow, up 3.23%.

Freedom have constantly had four service stations in NSW and that remained the case in FY2020. In QLD however, Freedom grow by 3.45% adding two new locations to the list.

One low light for independents was Budget in NSW. They look to have lost two locations and are down -5.41%.

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