UK railway station retail booms in festive period
today Jan 22, 2019
The importance of retail at railway stations in the UK came into even sharper focus over the festive period as key train stations in Britain saw rising product retail sales, despite the overall weak trading conditions during the period.
Not that the increase was huge. Network rail said that on a like-for-like basis in-store retail sales at its stations between November 10 and December 22 were up 0.6%. And they grew 2.3% in total. Relatively small figures admittedly, but against a backdrop of falling sales across the wider UK retail sector, they were impressive.
And it’s clear that railway station retail isn't suffering from one big problem that the rest of UK retail has seen - lower footfall. In fact, foot traffic passing through British railway stations is higher than ever. As many as 900m million people use the stations annually and retail footfall rose 1% in the Christmas trading season, compared to a 2.6% fall across UK retail in general.
That helped shops at the stations record almost £94 million in sales in the six-week period with health and beauty retailers particularly buoyant. This was the fastest rising category with a 13% sales rise.
The top performers as far as individual stations are concerned were London Bridge, Paddington and Charing Cross, all in London. The first of these has been extensively revamped over several years and travellers wishing to get from the railway station to the tube station now have no choice but to walk through its retail area.
Meanwhile, beyond London, key stations Edinburgh Waverley and Birmingham New Street did best over the festive season.
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