Convenience-store-42328138UK: While spending by convenience stores has fallen over the last three months, refrigeration remains the most popular form of investment, according to a new report.

In the report by the Association of Convenience Stores, pending increases in the National Living Wage are blamed for stores’ investments falling by 35% over the last three months from £177m to £116m.

Among those still investing in their stores, refrigeration remains the most popular form of investment, followed by shelving, store signage and in-store lighting. The South West is still seeing the most investment, while London is seeing the least investment by local shop owners.

Optimism in the convenience sector is reported to have fallen to its lowest level since August 2013. Despite that, total value of sales in the convenience sector grew by 5% to £37.7bn in the year to April 2015.

The report also reveals that there are 51,524 convenience stores in mainland UK – 42,755 in England 5,602 in Scotland and 3,167 in Wales. Of those, 92% have some form of refrigeration in-store.