Retail sales at Network Rail (NR) train stations increased five per cent on a like-for-like (LFL) basis in the three months to the end of 2010, it has been revealed today.
Overall retail sales increased by just 0.4 per cent LFL over the same period, and NR sees this as proof that its travel stores can weather any problems currently affecting UK high streets.
Specialist food stores performed best for NR, with sales between September and December rising 30.68 per cent compared to last year, whilst supermarket trade grew 14.6 per cent and clothing and accessories stores saw sales increase 10.5 per cent.
Gavin McKechnie, Head of Retail for Network Rail, commented: “Whilst the high street shivers in the cold economic climate, rail passenger journey numbers remain high at 1.3 billion a year - the highest number for 70 years.
“Retailers at our stations benefit from these high passenger numbers and from an upmarket demographic who are keen on impulse shopping.”
Of the 17 stations NR manages, London Euston had the best performing stores with sales up 13.5 per cent, followed by Birmingham New Street which saw a trading boost of 12.9 per cent, and then London Bridge where sales climbed 11.2 per cent during the quarter.
These results will come as a welcome boost to retailers such as WHSmith which, in the face of falling high street sales, has becoming increasingly reliant on travel store trade.
NR is currently conducting a major re-construction of many of its major stations, including Manchester Piccadilly, London Waterloo and Birmingham New Street, with an additional 75,000 sq ft of new retail space to be open by 2014.
McKechnie added: “We have overhauled our retail offering by working closely with our partners to maximise value for them and us. This has resulted in greater choice and quality for passengers and shoppers.”