UK. Retail sales across UK train stations managed by Network Rail increased by +9% over the festive period (18 November to 23 December) to over £110 million (US$148.95 million).

Gifting and food outlets performed particularly well, hinting that shoppers turned to stations for last-minute festive shopping and dining.

The results compared favourably against the wider UK retail sector’s Christmas trading results, said the operator.

Network Rail’s stations served 105 million passengers over the period, 31% of which entered a shop. Despite the sales increase, concourse footfall was flat year-on-year.

Paddington (+42%), Euston (+12%) and King’s Cross (+12%) stations showed the highest increases in London, where five stations recorded double-digit growth. Manchester Piccadilly (+9%) and Bristol (+7.4%) were the best performers outside the capital.

Around 33 million people visited retailers at Network Rail’s railway stations over the festive period

“Our station retailers have enjoyed a very successful Christmas with like-for-like retail sales increasing by +3%,” said Network Rail Commercial Director of Retail Hamish Kiernan.

“This achievement isn’t by chance, our investment in stations and our diverse, high-quality retail offer is directly linked to our retail performance and customer satisfaction, both of which are growing. Gone are the days when our stations were only used for catching a train, they are now also destinations of choice for shopping, dining and socialising.

“These results follow five and a half years (22 quarters) of consecutive retail growth, and our plans for further retail enhancements and station regeneration this year should help to keep us on track for more success.”

All profits from Network Rail retail activities are reinvested back into the stations. Retail enhancement plans in 2018 include 92,000sq ft of new options at London Bridge station, including several brands new to the Network Rail portfolio.