Forecourt retailers are continuing to invest in various customer services and technologies, according to a new Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) report.

The 2023 Forecourt Report found that 39% of forecourts offer free-to-use ATMs, 31% have click-and-collect services and 26% have standalone parcel collection points.

It also revealed that forecourt retailers are committed to improving the technology in their stores. Almost a third invest in their EPoS platforms and 30% invest in improving, expanding and replacing refrigeration units in store.

James Lowman chief executive of ACS said: “The best forecourt retailers often outperform their convenience counterparts on the impressive range of services and technology that they incorporate into their offer for customers. This has however been a challenging year for forecourts, with business rates costs and energy bills having an impact on overall investment. We urge the Government to recognise the essential role that forecourts play in keeping their communities going.”

Key findings from this year’s Forecourt Report include:

  • The UK forecourt sector creates over 89,000 jobs, with one in four colleagues (25%) being in the business for more than 10 years.
  • The value of sales in the forecourt sector has reached £4.9bn in the last year (excluding fuel).
  • 78% of forecourt retailers are active in their communities, raising money for local charities, getting involved with local projects, and donating to food banks.
  • 21% of independent forecourt retailers take no days off throughout the year.
  • Over the last year, independent forecourts have invested an average of around £11,700 in improving their stores.

There are now 48,450 electric charging points in the UK, with over 8,600 public charging points added to the UK network in the past 12 months.

Lowman continued: “Forecourt retailers will undoubtedly have a role to play in an EV future, but we are not seeing a rush for all stores to put in charging points, as for many the value that a parking space currently provides for a customer who is coming in to shop outstrips the potential value of a charging point on the site. Around 8% of the forecourt sector now offers EV charging, and we expect steady growth in the future as forecourts establish themselves as one of several charging options for consumers.”

The full Forecourt Report can be found here.