The number of convenience store retailers planning to invest in their businesses has surged in the last two years, new figures from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) show.

More than one in four (28%) convenience retailers plan to invest in their stores this year - up from 21% in 2013 and 24% in 2014, according to the ACS Investment Tracker.

Retailers invested £177m in their businesses between February and May 2015 with the average investment totalling just over £2,500 per store.

However, a number of store owners had made significant investments running into hundreds of thousands of pounds, the ACS said.

Regionally, more stores are planning to make investments in the South West of England than anywhere else in the UK with 35% making some investment. The lowest levels were found in the North West with 22% of retailers planning to making investments.

Refrigeration is the most popular form of investment as stores adapt their product ranges to include more fresh food and ‘food to go’ and fruit and vegetables – the fastest growing category in convenience at the moment.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “These figures show that retailers are making investments in their stores to ensure that they can provide a wide range of goods and services to meet the needs of busy modern consumers. The sector overall is currently in a very strong position and our research suggests that it’s a great investment for entrepreneurs – 75% of independently run stores are operated by first time investors.”

The convenience sector overall is now worth over £37bn with IGD predicting that the sector will be worth an extra £6.4bn by 2020.