Network Rail & Retail
During the lead up to Christmas in 2018, there has been a 2.3% growth in station retail sales. Network Rail recorded more than £93.8m in sales during the six weeks leading up to Christmas, with retailers in the health and beauty (+13%), food (+10%) and news, books and confectionary (+9%) sectors performing particularly well.
These results reflect the Network Rail retail strategy, which aims to place passengers at the centre of its plans and provide an attractive retail offer. The figures, which show sales between 10 November and 22 December, also show growth of 0.6% in like-for-like sales despite a difficult wider trading environment, with sales levels flat across the wider high-street retail sector in December.
There was also a 1% increase in retail footfall, comparing well against results in the latest BRC-Springboard and Vacancies Monitor, which showed that overall UK retail footfall was down 2.6%.
London Bridge (+74.7%), Paddington (+10.7%) and Charing Cross (+7.6%) showed the highest total sales growth in London, with the sales surges at London Bridge and Paddington correlating to Network Rail’s investment in the regeneration and retail enhancement projects at these transport hubs. Elsewhere, Edinburgh Waverley (+3.5%) and Birmingham New Street (+2.9%) were the best performers outside of the capital. So, figures point to a continued trend in convenience shopping, with increasing numbers using stations as a one-stop-shop for a range of products.
David Biggs, Managing Director of Network Rail Property, said:
“We are committed to delivering a positive experience for the 900 million people who use our stations each year, and therefore any decisions we make around our retail portfolio are centred on what our passengers want.
Of course, there are wider challenges in the retail market and this has affected some retailers, but today’s results show that our strategy is paying off and that convenience is most definitely king, with station retail continuing to outperform the high-street.
“This is also at a time that we are investing in and upgrading our stations, which impacts on retail. However, this will have long-term positive effects – helping the railway to grow and improve for passengers, whilst creating great places for communities to thrive.”
Each penny of profit from retail sales at stations is reinvested back into the railway, benefiting fare payers, taxpayers and the wider economy.