The overall forecourt sector is now worth £4.1bn, providing jobs for around 92,000 people across the UK, according a new Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) report.
The 2019 Forecourt Report found that independent forecourt retailers invested more than twice the amount over the last year on average (£14,463 per store) than independent retailers in the rest of the convenience sector (£7,181 per store).
The majority of independent forecourt retailers (73%) are also funding investment from their own reserves. Furthermore, more than three-quarters (77%) of independent forecourts engaged in some form of community activity over the last year, not just through raising money for charity, but also by sponsoring local teams, being part of litter picks and donating to food banks or other food charities.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The forecourt sector has long been recognised as providing an essential service for motorists, but it’s clear that modern forecourts are innovative, community-focused retailers in their own right, make a real positive difference to the places where they trade and in many cases are leading the rest of the convenience sector.”
According to the report, half (50%) of forecourts offer a hot food-to-go counter or cabinet, while over a quarter (28%) of forecourts provide a parcel collection point for customers.
There are 1,083 electric charging points currently available at a total of 334 forecourt sites in the UK.