Network Rail has reported 2.3% total retails sales growth at its managed stations during Christmas, which is says shows an increasing trend towards convenience shopping.
The figures show growth of 0.6% in like-for-like sales despite a difficult wider trading environment, with sales levels flat across the wider high-street retail sector in December. The numbers cover sales between 10th November and 22nd December 2018.
The results reflect Network Rail’s retail strategy, which aims to place passengers at the centre of its plans and provide an attractive retail offer that suits their buying habits
In total, Network Rail recorded more than £93.8m in sales during the six weeks leading up to Christmas, with retailers in the health and beauty (+13%), food (+10%) and news, books and confectionary (+9%) sectors performing particularly well.
There was also a 1% increase in retail footfall, comparing favourably against results in the latest BRC-Springboard and Vacancies Monitor, which showed that overall UK retail footfall was down 2.6%.
The company says profit from retail is reinvested into the railway, benefiting fare payers, taxpayers and the wider economy.
David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property, said:“We are committed to delivering a positive experience for the 900 million people who use our stations each year, and therefore any decisions we make around our retail portfolio are centred on what our passengers want.
“Of course, there are wider challenges in the retail market and this has affected some retailers, but today’s results show that our strategy is paying off and that convenience is most definitely king, with station retail continuing to outperform the high-street.
“This is also at a time that we are investing in and upgrading our stations, which impacts on retail. However, this will have long-term positive effects – helping the railway to grow and improve for passengers, whilst creating great places for communities to thrive.”