Sales at U.K. Forecourt Stores to Jump

Gas station convenience stores are expected to outperform the broader c-store market. 

March 06, 2020

LONDON—Sales at forecourt convenience stores in the United Kingdom will accelerate 3.8% to reach £2.9 billion ($3.75 billion) in 2020, a modest bump over the overall convenience retail market increase of 3.2% growth, according to the UK Forecourt Market Report 2020 by MCA Insight & HIM, Kam City reports.

The number of gas stations with convenience stores is expected to increase by 1.5% this year, despite an overall dip in forecourt sites of -0.2%. The report found that gas station operators are reacting to changing shopper behavior as only 19% of forecourt customers say gas is the top reason for stopping, while 24% stop by a gas station on foot, rather than by car.

Forecourt operators are taking note, with 67% pointing to more food to-go sales as one of the top three ways they’ve changed their business over the past year. However, gas station owners still list as their top three concerns alternative fuels, high labor costs and employee turnover.

“The U.K. forecourt market has evolved considerably in the last decade—from a time when the fuel mission accounted for over a third of visits, to now accounting for less than a fifth. Retailers and operators are feeling the pressure—or seeing an opportunity—to find alternative and innovative ways to drive footfall to their stores and thereby capitalize on the growth opportunities in the market,” said Sarah Coleman, project manager at MCA Insight & HIM. “Strong investment in food to-go and an increase in the number of partnerships with foodservice operators have allowed forecourts stores to become a destination for shoppers. This is more important than ever, with the food to-go mission accounting for a quarter of all visits to forecourt convenience stores.”

For a look at consumer trends on U.S. forecourts, read “The 2020 NACS Consumer Fuels Survey” in the March issue of NACS Magazine.