Applegreen is set to nearly double in size in the UK by the end of the summer, according to UK managing director Michael O’Loughlin.

He said acquisitions were set to increase the group’s current total of 24 UK sites to 45 by late summer, and predicted “this will be a big year for us”.

O’Loughlin revealed the growth plans as he unveiled a new canopy for its brand in the UK, and a new concept for the format of its small stores, at a site at Uckfield in East Sussex.

The new canopy features the company’s logo on a wood effect and is set to be rolled out across the UK estate.

The format of the Uckfield site, which has a 550sq ft store, will act as a blueprint for the rest of the group’s smaller sites if it proves successful, added O’Loughlin.

He said the aim of the concept was to transform smaller stores with a £10,000 a week turnover and 20% margin into ones with a £20,000 turnover and 35% margin.

The Uckfield site is focused on the needs of the ‘transumer’, said O’Loughlin, which he defined as motorists who are travelling alone and seeking instant gratification.

Therefore the entire range of the store, excluding its alcohol offer, is for immediate consumption. It includes a Subway and a push button Costa Coffee, a small seated area, and a chilled gondola between the stores two till points.