C-stores are continuing to attract buyers, with demand for forecourt stores leading the way according to property experts Christie & Co. It reports that the c-store buying market has gone from strength to strength in the past 18 months, fuelled by intense interest from the big multiple operators.

Demand for forecourt sites is driving the growth, with Somerfield’s purchase of 118 forecourt sites from Texaco for around £15.3m, and 22 sites from Fuelforce for £1.5m, prime examples of the trend. Christie & Co director of retail Tony Evans said: “In the past 18 months to two years, the multiples have increased their interest in the c-store sector, most recently with Sainsbury’s acquisition of SL Shaw’s five stores in the South East. “We believe this interest is set to continue but in a more selective way. “The market is also being fuelled by c-store operators looking into different formats for their expansion, such as forecourts.”

Interest in post office stores is also high. Christie & Co confirmed it had sold three times as many post offices in the first four months of 2005 than during the same period in 2004.