The forecourt sector employs over 117,000 people in the UK and generates over £4bn annually in sales, according to a new report highlighting its value to the retail landscape.

The Association of Convenience Store’s 2016 Forecourt Report found that consumers are increasingly visiting their local petrol station to refuel themselves and their families, not just their cars. Hundreds of stores now provide full food service solutions, from coffee and sandwiches to meals for the rest of the week.

The report revealed that 70% of stores have a coffee machine in store, 77% offer cold food to go and 46% offer hot food to go.

Forecourts are also a major source of investment in the UK, with each store on average investing over £16,000 a year on developing their business.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Forecourts have seen significant development over the last ten years, now giving customers the opportunity to get food and drink for now, for later and for the rest of the week, as well as a host of other goods and services.

“Some of the best convenience stores in the UK are located on petrol forecourts, and there is still huge potential in the sector for growth. Many consumers consider their local shop to be on a petrol forecourt, and we anticipate this trend to continue in the coming years.”