New figures from Network Rail suggest Christmas retail trading at the group’s 18 managed stations was the busiest on record in 2014.
Sales grew by 15.8%, with like-for-like sales growing by 10.7% in stark contrast to wider retail trends.
The national rail operator highlights that the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index recorded growth of only 2.6% for the five-week period Christmas retail trading period (29 November to 27 December 2014).
The figures suggest a shift in spending away from the high street to travel hubs but also reflect improvements to stations in recent years such as King’s Cross, which was the best performing across the network with sales growth of almost 50%.
Glasgow and Birmingham also saw retail growth of 26% and 22% respectively, suggesting this could be good news for those local authorities hoping to benefit from HS2 regeneration schemes and retail potential around new hub stations.
Managing director of Network Rail Property, David Biggs, said there was an increased focus on creating stations that are destinations in themselves.
‘We’re bringing retailers to our stations that give customers what they want in the time they have available and our results are showing this strategy is working,’ he said.
Director of retail, Network Rail Property, Hamish Kiernan, said: ‘The numbers as a whole are staggering; almost 850 million people visited our stations in 2014 and of those people, over 34% chose to visit one of our retail units. That’s around 289 million people, a significant rise of over 13% compared to 2013.
‘It’s a very positive time in the station retail sector and we have a number of plans and projects ready to create even better environments for our customers in 2015.’