Network Rail has announced that retail sales at their stations were up by 3.5 percent in the final quarter of 2017. Network Rail currently has 17 managed stations across the UK, and according to their figures, more than 66 million customers visited a retail outlet at one of these stations in October, November or December of last year. With retail sales spiking over the festive period, visitors spent almost £206 million. Figures also show that stationery sales increased by six percent and gifting sales are up by nine percent. In terms of like-for-like sales, there was only a small increase of 0.8 percent.
In terms of the biggest total sales growth, two stations, in particular, were streets ahead of the rest. Paddington station experienced a 44 percent increase in total sales, with London Bridge experiencing a 40 percent increase. Network Rail indicated that both stations have seen significant recent investment. The same applies for two other stations that featured in the top five stations for total growth in sales: Kings Cross and Birmingham New Street. Both stations boasted an 11 percent increase in sales. The other station making the top five, which has not had any recent investment, was Cannon Street. This central London railway station saw a 12 percent increase in sales.
Other stations that are worth a mention include Glasgow Central (three percent sales increase), Edinburgh Waverley (seven percent sales increase), Bristol Temple Meads (six percent sales increase), and Manchester Piccadilly (six percent sales increase).
Speaking about the increase in retail sales, the managing director of Network Rail Property, David Biggs, said that the figures illustrate the large demand at rail stations for travel point retail. He believes that Network Rail stations are becoming destinations in their own right due to the exciting and expanding range of retail partners on offer. Convenience and variety are certainly the name of the game here, and this is something we are only going to see more of in the future.
After all, it was only recently announced that London Bridge station would boast a new £1 billion shopping centre. The centre is going to house some of the biggest names in beauty and fashion, as well as London’s third Hamleys toy store. The station, which welcomes around 50-million passengers per year, will result in 70+ stores and 92,000 square-feet of shopping space, which is the most ever for a Network Rail station.