Forecourt retailers looking to expand food ranges despite rising costs

Forecourt retailers across the UK are looking to expand fresh and chilled food ranges and invest in refrigeration in a bid to be more energy efficient.

The data from the Association of Convenience Stores’ 2022 Forecourt Report has revealed that independent forecourt retailers are making significant investments into their businesses, despite rising food and energy costs.

Last year, retailers spent £18,000 on average in comparison to £10,000 spent by convenience stores not selling fuel.

To limit electricity costs, half of forecourt stores in the sector have doors on their chillers, while 39% use LED lighting and 8% use solar panels.

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“It’s essential that the government recognises the crucial role that forecourts play in their communities. These businesses are community hubs in their own right, providing essential services and an ever-increasing range of products for customers along with fuel and alternative power solutions,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.

He described the energy support package for businesses, which includes a six-month price cut on their expected energy bills, “has been a lifeline for many”, adding the ACS is encouraging the government “to include forecourts within the list of vulnerable sectors that need longer term support.”

Lowman added: “This has been a turbulent year for fuel supply and pricing, with international events determining the price that consumers pay at the pump. It is encouraging to see that fuel prices are trending downward after peaking in the summer, especially as everyone is looking to cut costs where possible.”

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