Last-minute railway station Christmas shopping brings 9% retail sales growth

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New results released today by Network Rail show total station retail sales for the festive period (18 November to 23 December), grew by 9%, comparing favourably against recent Christmas trading results recorded across the wider sector – reaffirming customers appetite for convenience retail.

Station retailers saw a total of over £110m in sales during this busy period with gifting and food outlets performing particularly well, showing that shoppers are turning to stations for last-minute gifts, supermarket shopping, and pre-Christmas dining.

Across the same period, 105 million people visited Network Rail’s stations and one in three (31%) of these station users entered a retail outlet.

While concourse footfall was flat from last year, the marked increase in retail sales indicates a significant proportion of people now find stations an ideal destination for pre-Christmas shopping, eating and drinking.

Paddington (+42%), Euston (+12%) and King’s Cross (+12%) stations showed the highest growth in London, with five stations in total recording double-digit growth. Meanwhile, Manchester Piccadilly (+9%) and Bristol (+7.4%) were the best performers outside of the capital.

Hamish Kiernan, commercial director of retail, Network Rail, said: “Our station retailers have enjoyed a very successful Christmas with like for like retail sales increasing by 3%.

“This achievement isn’t by chance, our investment in stations and our diverse, high-quality retail offer is directly linked to our retail performance and customer satisfaction, both of which are growing. Gone are the days when our stations were only used for catching a train, they are now also destinations of choice for shopping, dining and socialising.

“These results follow five and a half years (22 quarters) of consecutive retail growth, and our plans for further retail enhancements and station regeneration this year should help to keep us on track for more success.”

All profits from Network Rail retail activities are reinvested back in to the railway and plans are well underway for a programme of retail enhancement in 2018. This includes the landmark opening of London Bridge station which will see 92,000 sq ft of new retail including a significant number of brands new to the Network Rail portfolio.