Stations are first stop for gifts and gadgets, Network Rail results show

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New retail sales results released  by Network Rail show that 204 million people passed through the company’s managed stations between April and June this year, comparable to the total population of Brazil (206.6 million).

Overall like-for-like sales for the quarter increased by 4.14%, more than eight times greater than the British Retail Consortium results for the same period, which were 0.5%. Almost one in three station users (64 million) visited Network Rail station retailers in the period, equivalent to the total population of the UK (64.6 million) and enough to fill Wembley Stadium over 700 times.

Food and beverage outlets in Network Rail’s managed stations are proving increasingly popular with sales rising by 6.1% overall compared to the same period last year. While traditional retail sales also continue to grow, increasing by 2.5%.

Sales at major stations in London (King’s Cross +8.7%), and across the country (Manchester +9.6% and Reading +10.2%) performed well, pointing to the ongoing changes in consumer shopping habits as more people look for central locations to meet, eat, shop and travel.

The like-for-like increase was also driven by three key growth areas in the second quarter of 2016. Year-on-year gifting purchases soared by 43.6%, suggesting stations are becoming a major destination for gifts on the go, whilst technology sales grew by 20.6%. Accessories completed the top three with 10.2% growth over the three-month period.

It is not just travellers buying more gifts, gadgets and jewellery that have helped Network Rail station retailers record a 17th consecutive quarter of sales growth. Alongside these strong figures for higher value purchases, were the daily journey type purchases, with visitors to stations around the UK buying the equivalent of 4.5 million cups of coffee.

To coincide with the release of these figures, Network Rail Property, the company’s commercial division, today announces the appointment of Daniel Charles as the organisation’s new Head of Retail. He will join in October from the Abu Dhabi Airports Company, where he was Head of Retail for almost two and a half years. Prior to this role he worked as a Senior Category Manager at Network Rail for seven years.

David Biggs, Network Rail’s managing director of property, said: “These figures show that the quality retail offering at Network Rail stations is driving strong customer traffic to the many shops, cafes and boutiques that stations now have to offer. That’s good news for shoppers and good news for passengers too. All profits from retail sales are reinvested back into the railway, helping fund the Railway Upgrade Plan.”