Convenience stores are winning the hearts and wallets of UK shoppers, with visitor numbers having soared in line with the temperature.

Fuelled by the hot weather and impromptu barbeques, the percentage of UK adults who visited a convenience store in July jumped to 81%, up from 77% in June.

According to the figures from HIM’s monthly Shop Waves survey, UK adults are now spending 22% of their monthly grocery outlay in convenience stores.

“The main reason shoppers visited convenience stores in July this year was for top-up (44%), however there was a significant increase in those using convenience for food and drink to be consumed immediately, up from 29% to 35%”, HIM shopper insights director Katie Littler said.

“The weather opened up a fantastic opportunity for convenience stores as their ability to offer wide ranges of chilled beers and wines and soft drinks, as well as greater flexibility with ranges meaning they can keep their fingers on the pulse and react instantly to the BBQ weather.

It will be interesting to see if their popularity can be maintained as the weather returns ‘normal’, and if these convenience stores can retain the customer loyalty that has been created,” she added.

Binny Amin who owns a Londis store in Blean near Canterbury and a Budgens in Whitstable said the hot weather had boosted footfall and sales in both stores.

“It doesn’t have to be scorching hot,” he said. “In fact sales are at their most buoyant when the temperature reaches around 22° and stays there. It’s about consistency.

“It does require us to take a much closer look at staffing levels though, particularly in the Blean store where it will be quieter in the day as people visit the coast or the town, before becoming really busy in the evening when they all return.”

In Long Ditton, Surrey, Manny’s owner Manny Patel said sales had jumped by 10% in the last month. “July and August have been absolutely fantastic, helped by the hot weather and the fact that we have recently extended our chilled range with fresh meats and more vegetables and salads. Ice cream and soft drink sales have also been exceptionally strong,” he said.