In train stations such as Manchester Piccadilly, Glasgow Central London Bridge, like-for-like sales for pubs and bars increased by 13.9 per cent in Q4 2013, alongside a growth of 14.1 per cent for dining outlets. Retail sales increased by just 7.8 per cent over the same period.
“Station trading continues to grow dramatically, significantly outpacing the high street,” said Hamish Kiernan, Network Rail’s commercial director of retail. “Guaranteed footfall and convenience are key drivers of this growth and both are great selling points for the railway.
“Stations offer a vibrant and healthy trading environment and we are continuing to attract new brands to meet the needs of passengers and local communities alike.”
The best performing brands at the end of last year included Wasabi (sales up by 19 per cent) Hotel Chocolat (12 per cent) and Caffe Nero (8 per cent).
King's Cross concourse
Network Rail, which has over 500,000 sq.ft of retail space at 16 of Britain’s largest railway stations, said its top performing sites over the quarter were King’s Cross in London (where retail sales increased by 26 per cent) Manchester Piccadilly (10.7 per cent) and Liverpool Street (8.7 per cent).
“Trading at King’s Cross has benefited from a major investment scheme enabling new retail facilities to be added to the station environment, and offering customers a wider choice of food and beverage as well as retail brands,” said the company.
Branded national restaurant and pub chains are increasingly recognising the potential of high-footfall transport hubs. Late last year, Simon Emeny – chief executive of Fuller’s – said train stations were providing new opportunities for the pub company, with plans to open more railway station pubs in the near future.