Forecourt retailers continue to invest

Forecourt retailers have continued to invest in their businesses in the past year despite the pandemic, new research reveals.

The ACS 2021 Forecourt Report shows independent forecourts spent around £16,000 on average per store. However, while this is higher than their convenience store only counterparts, this is a significant fall on the previous year, when independent forecourt retailers were investing around £24,000 per store.

The UK’s 7,395 forecourt shops provide more than 88,000 secure local jobs and provide access to essential services, the research finds.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • More than one in three independent forecourt operators (37%) took no days off over the past year.
  • There are around 536 charging points at 405 forecourt locations (excluding service stations) in the UK, part of a wider network of over 16,000 charging locations.
  • Around one in four independent forecourts are open 24 hours.

In addition, 76% of independent forecourts engaged in some form of community activity over the past year, not just through raising money for charity, but also by sponsoring local teams, being part of litter picks, and other activities. One in five forecourts is also involved with providing stock for food banks.

ACS Chief Executive, James Lowman, said: “UK forecourts have demonstrated how essential they are to their communities throughout the pandemic, and especially in the last few months during the fuel supply chain issues.

“As we look ahead, we must ensure that the essential services that forecourts provide are recognised, and that they are incentivised to invest in new technology, alternative power options for vehicles, and improving their shop offer for customers.”

The report also shows that forecourt retailers are also more active than ever on social media, reaching their customers through engagement on Facebook (38% of retailers), Twitter (22%), Instagram (20%), and TikTok (13%).

The 2021 Forecourt Report is available on the ACS member portal.

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