Shop sales in the forecourt sector are now worth £3.6bn, according to new figures from the Institute of Grocery Distribution.

Despite site numbers falling by 5.1 per cent, sales have increased by 0.3 per cent and the forecourt sector now makes up 15.8 per cent of total convenience retail sector sales.

The number of forecourt sites recorded as c-stores has risen from 77 per cent in 2001 to 89 per cent in 2004, and there are now no forecourts that are selling fuel only.

The figures also show that while fuel makes up 87 per cent of site sales, it only contributes to 50 per cent of gross profit.