One in five time-strapped British men are snapping up their Valentine’s Day presents from petrol stations, new research from Mace convenience stores reveals today.

Key findings revealed:

* One in five men buy Valentine’s Day gifts from petrol stations and that rises to one in three in the  25-45 year old age range.

* A quarter of Yorkshiremen are likely to buy a Valentine’s Day present from a petrol station whereas in Scotland only 13% of men would do that.

* 40% say they would not be embarrassed to buy a gift from a petrol station whereas only 20% said they would be.

The research also looked at people’s perception of buying gifts from petrol forecourts. Once derided as an emergency shopping option, nowadays almost a half of men (40%) say they would not be embarrassed to buy a gift from a petrol station.  Twenty per cent of respondents claim they would still be red-faced if they had to make a forecourt purchase for a gift.

Convenience and time constraints are high on the list of reasons to shop at petrol stations, with 70% of men citing these as their primary motivation; some 15% do so because of the good value or selection on offer.

Richard Hayhoe, marketing director, Mace convenience stores, said: “Gone are the days of the clichéd limp bouquets by the side of the road – today’s forecourts have a wide range of  desirable gifts on offer, including high quality boxes of chocolate, brand name fizz, cards and flowers. It’s not surprising that men are topping up their love lives when they top up their cars and they aren’t ashamed of that – today’s ‘always-on’ world makes this a necessity and the forecourt sector is helping people make the most of their time.”

Goran Raven, a Mace petrol station owner in Essex, added: “I’ve increased sales by 5% over the past year by stocking more luxury items like vintage Champagne and Cuban cigars. People don’t have time to go to a range of shops for each separate item, they want it all under one roof and the shopkeeper who gives them that will be a winner.”