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WSJ: Misdirected Boycotts Hurting BP Retailers

Anger over spill increases as oil continues to come ashore.
June 16, 2010

NEW YORK - Silent protests by consumers turning their backs on the BP brand have led to sales drops of as much as 10 percent at BP stations in Florida, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The scope of the boycotts, while not necessarily hitting BP in the pocket, "means that we are going to have a lot of small business owners going out of business," Jim Smith, president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association, told the newspaper.

"People are kind of melting away," added NACS Chairman Jay Ricker, chairman of Ricker Oil, noting that sales at his BP-branded stations were down more than 5 percent compared to last year, the first decline of 2010.

While many BP-branded sites initially were minimally hurt, "it really coincided with the oil coming ashore," added NACS Vice Chairman and Treasurer Jeff Miller, president of Miller Oil Co., who saw a sales drop of between 2 and 3 percent.

"The distributor and retailer communities have really become the lightning rod of the consumer backlash, easy targets," John Phelps, president of Carroll Independent Fuel Co., told the newspaper.