Network Rail today released station retail sales results showing a 1.21% growth in like-for-like sales from April to June 2012, compared to the same time the previous year. In the same period high street sales, reported by the British Retail Consortium, fell by 0.2% – meaning retail sales in stations continue to outperform the high street.
These figures were compiled from the results of retailers operating from over 580,000 sq ft of retail space (520 units/shops) at 17 of Britain’s biggest and busiest stations owned and operated by Network Rail, benefiting from a combined annual footfall of over a billion.
Top performing stations include Manchester Piccadilly (+11.2%), followed by London Victoria (+8.02%) and Fenchurch Street (+7.02%), compared to the same period last year. Engineering works in preparation for the Olympics and part station closures impacted on trading at Liverpool Street, Network Rail’s busiest station in London, as well as Waterloo and Paddington.
Food and beverage offers performed best in stations. Top performing categories were specialist food retail (+17.7%), specialist food catering (+13.7%), restaurants (+8.48%) and bars (+8.42%).
This current set of figures show growth has slightly slowed since the 4.15% increase reported last period (January to March 2012), which was Network Rail’s best quarterly growth in retail sales for the financial year of 2011/12. In the same period high street sales, as reported by the BRC, reported a growth of just 0.23%.
David Biggs, director of property at Network Rail, said: “While growth on the high street remains flat, retail in stations continues to grow. The wettest weather on record in 100 years, the extended Jubilee bank holiday weekend and an increase in major weekend engineering work in preparation for the Olympics all contributed towards some tougher periods for retail in stations. However, the fact we are still able to post an increase in revenue shows our stations still provide some of the most lucrative trading environments available to retailers today. “
The completion of 22,000 sq ft of new retail space across 22 new units in the new concourse at King’s Cross in March this year, attracted a host of new brands to the station. This quarter, two further additions to the station included American Apparel and Patisserie Valerie. After its first quarter of trading, the new space at King’s Cross has reported total sales in excess of £8m – an average weekly increase of 23%. Sales of over £34m are predicted by the end of 12 months trading – an increase of £15.6m from 2010/11. Retailers operating across all of Network Rail’s managed stations last year generated a total £592m in sales.
All profits from Network Rail’s retail activity is re-invested in the railway, limiting the cost to tax payers and passengers.