The average forecourt trader’s annual convenience sales has increased 13.32% to approximately £537,705, according to a new report by the ACS. 

Despite the number of forecourts declining by 805 sites to 7,625 across the UK, driven by high business rates and market convergence, the store sales show that the role of the forecourt is rapidly changing.

Food-to-go sales increased by 63.39%, but other forecourt staples, such as tobacco, soft drinks and confectionery, all saw sales decreases in the last 12 months. 

Adam Hogwood, from Budgens of Broadstairs in Kent, said his store has become a focal point for the community. 

“We are right in the centre of town, so we are not a service station – we’re surrounded by chimney pots. We have a lot of walk-in trade, and at least 40% of our customers are regulars who come in at least six days a week,” he said. 

“Forecourt retailers can be really valuable to the community, as you get a lot of regulars coming over, as well as massive traffic from fuel stops.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman added: “UK forecourts are an essential part of the grocery market, often introducing new products and technologies ahead of the rest of the convenience sector.

“However, forecourts face specific challenges, such as the high cost of business rates.”

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