The Co-operative Group is reducing its forecourt opening hours - because night time sales didn’t justify them being open.

The society said that around 70 of its 219 forecourt stores would switch from 24 hours a day to core trading hours of either 6am-10pm, 6am-11pm, 7am-10pm, 7am-11pm, 5am-midnight.

Only 34 of the 219 stores would now be open 24 hours a day, although a further 79 would have their trading hours extended “to provide a better service for our customers”, said the society.

The reduction in hours has sparked concerns among staff that their jobs could be at risk. One staff member posted on the society’s staff Facebook page: “Hopefully find out tomorrow if I still have a job, as The Co-op Group, albeit short-sightedly, seem determined to close all their petrol forecourts from midnight til 5am.”

The Co-op Group said: “We have been rolling out new core trading times for all our food stores, as part of a move to better meet customer demand. The new hours will standardise core opening hours for stores across the UK, with each store open during the minimum core trading times of 7am until 10pm.”