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    Forecourt retailers invested £11,700 on improvement: ACS

    The 2023 Forecourt Report, published today (12) by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), has highlighted the challenges and future opportunities for forecourt convenience retailers amid a changing fuel and vehicle market.

    This year’s Forecourt Report shows the continued investment that forecourt retailers are making in improving the breadth and depth of services that they offer to customers, with services like free to use ATMs (39 per cent of stores), click and collect services (31 per cent of stores) and standalone parcel collection points (26 per cent of stores) some of the most popular.

    The UK forecourt sector creates over 89,000 jobs, with one in four colleagues (25 per cent) being in the business for more than 10 years. The value of sales in the forecourt sector has reached £4.9bn in the last year (excluding fuel), states the report.

    78 per cent of forecourt retailers are active in their communities, raising money for local charities, getting involved with local projects, and donating to food banks while 21 per cent of independent forecourt retailers take no days off throughout the year.

    Over the last year, independent forecourts have invested an average of around £11,700 in improving their stores.

    The report also shows the commitment that forecourt retailers are making to improve the technology in their stores, with almost a third of those who are investing doing so in their till systems / EPoS platforms (31 per cent), and 30 per cent of those investing doing so through improving, expanding and replacing refrigeration units in store.

    ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The best forecourt retailers often outperform their convenience counterparts on the impressive range of services and technology that they incorporate into their offer for customers. This has however been a challenging year for forecourts, with business rates costs and energy bills having an impact on overall investment. We urge the Government to recognise the essential role that forecourts play in keeping their communities going.”

    One area of significant change highlighted by this year’s Forecourt Report is the UK’s move toward electric vehicles. Sales of new hybrid/electric vehicles are now outpacing petrol and diesel sales for the first time, with over 8,600 public charging points being added to the UK network. This comes as the Government has announced a delay in the ban on new petrol and diesel cars, pushing back from 2030 to 2035.

    Lowman continued: “Forecourt retailers will undoubtedly have a role to play in an EV future, but we are not seeing a rush for all stores to put in charging points, as for many the value that a parking space currently provides for a customer who is coming in to shop outstrips the potential value of a charging point on the site. Around 8% of the forecourt sector now offers EV charging, and we expect steady growth in the future as forecourts establish themselves as one of several charging options for consumers.”

    The full Forecourt Report is available to download here: https://cdn.acs.org.uk/public/ACS%20Forecourt%20Report%202023.pdf

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