Station retail sales increase while high streets struggle

New retailers in the Western Arcade at London Bridge station.

As retail sales on the high street continue to fall due to the increasing popularity of online shopping, railway station retailers are continuing to buck the trend.

Network Rail reported a 4.48 per cent increase in sales over the last three months of 2019, up to £228 million.

Food and drink categories led the way with passengers’ appetites for places to meet, eat, shop and travel continuing to grow. Retailers in bakery (+7.2%), fast food (+7.1%), grocery (+6.4%), news, books and confectionary (+5.8%) and pubs and bars (+5.3%) performed particularly well.

Brands in the home and lifestyle categories also saw strong growth (+5.9%), with the festive season driving convenience as passengers bought gifts on their travels.

London Bridge (+48.2%) showed the highest total sales growth in the UK, although this came from a low starting point as the station is newly rebuilt, with Network Rail making a significant investment in retail, particularly the introduction of new dining outlets and a premium bar.

Sales figures between 1 October and 31 December also show growth of 4.2 per cent in like-for-like sales despite a difficult wider trading environment, with high-street sales falling by 0.9 per cent in the same period.

David Biggs, Network Rail.

Network Rail Property managing director David Biggs said: “We know that passengers want convenience and choice, and today’s results show that our strategy is delivering just that. As our retail offer evolves, stations are becoming much more than just transport hubs – they’re now destinations in their own right.”

The positive Q3 sales figures round off a strong year for station retail, which recorded over £215 million in sales across all 20 Network Rail-managed stations in Q2 and over £211 million in Q1.

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