Passengers’ need for convenience sparks growth in Christmas retail sales

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Network Rail reports 2.3% total sales growth at its managed stations during the festive period, despite difficult wider trading environment

Passengers’ appetite for convenience has driven a 2.3% growth in station retail sales over the festive period, Network Rail has announced.

The figures, which reflect 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.

The results reflect Network Rail’s retail strategy, which aims to place passengers at the centre of its plans and provide an attractive retail offer that suits their buying habits

In total, 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.  

There was also a 1% increase in retail footfall, comparing favourably 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 significant investment in regeneration and retail enhancement projects at these transport hubs.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Waverley (+3.5%) and Birmingham New Street (+2.9%) were the best performers outside of the capital.

Every penny of profit from retail sales is reinvested back into the railway, benefiting farepayers, taxpayers and the wider economy.

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.”