Rail station retail sales outperform high street

Retail sales at UK rail stations outperformed the high street in the first quarter of this year, reporting 5.17 per cent growth in like-for-like sales.

In the same period, January to March 2011, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) posted a -0.8 per cent decline in high street sales, as a downturn in consumer spending hit retailers.

Retail sales at rail stations showed similarly strong growth of 5.02 per cent in October to December 2010, compared to the same quarter the previous year.

The figures were compiled from the results of retailers operating from over 560,000 sq ft of retail space, or 493 units/shops, at 16 of the UK’s biggest and busiest stations owned and operated by Network Rail, where combined annual footfall exceeds one billion.

London stations achieved the best results in the first quarter of 2011, with the best performance at Euston, which reported 11.6 per cent growth.

London Bridge (7.29 per cent) and Charing Cross (6.9 per cent) also performed well in the period.

Jane Bevis, director of public affairs at the BRC, comments, ‘These figures contrast markedly with the experience on high streets due to the strong footfall through Network Rail stations and the heavy London skew.’

Outside of London, Edinburgh and Leeds stations posted strong trading results, of 8.5 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively.

Food and grocery categories revealed the highest level of growth across the portfolio, as sales at supermarkets increased 13 per cent, while specialist food catering brands were up 10.8 per cent. Sales at restaurants rose 10.2 per cent in the quarter helped by new openings, including Yo! Sushi in Manchester Piccadilly and real ale pub Euston Tap at Euston Station.

Bevis observes that the figures ‘also demonstrate how shoppers are topping up at convenience stores, having managed the main weekly shopping budget very carefully’.

Network Rail will generate over £1 billion in the next five years from commercial activities for reinvestment in rail estate.

See also: If high street retail is to evolve it involves a huge turnaround strategy

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of GrowthBusiness.co.uk between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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