NW stations retail sales outperform high street, says report

Retail sales are outperforming high street sales at two North West stations, according to figures released by Network Rail on Tuesday.

Network Rail, which owns and manages Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly stations, said station sales results in Britian, covering September to December 2010, showed a 5.02% growth on a like-for-like basis compared to the same time the previous year.

Compared to high street sales in Britain compiled by the British Retail Consortium, Network Rail said they had risen by 0.40% during the same period.

Network Rail said Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly have both outperformed the high street. Station sales results for Liverpool Lime Street showed a 3.17% growth on a like-for-like basis compared to the same time the previous year, while Manchester Piccadilly showed excellent growth of 6.30% on a like-for-like basis.

Network Rail said it will be publishing its retail sales figures every quarter from now on.

The figures were compiled from the results of retailers operating from over 540,000 sq ft of retail space at 17 of Britain's biggest and busiest stations owned and operated by Network Rail.

Out of these stations, London Euston, growth of 13.51%, Birmingham New Street, growth of 12.85%, and London Bridge, growth of 11.20%, achieved the best results of the period.

Network Rail's report also gave a breakdown for specialist food catering brands, restaurants, supermarkets, and clothing to see which category was achieving the highest levels of growth.

Supermarkets, with a growth of 15.53%, and specialist food catering brands, with growth of 22.70%, were the highest performing categories at Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly respectively.

Gavin McKechnie, Network Rail's head of retail, said: "Whilst the high street shivers in the cold economic climate, rail passenger journey numbers remain high at 1.3bn a year – the highest number for 70 years. Retailers at our stations benefit from these high passenger numbers and from an upmarket demographic who are keen on impulse shopping. We have overhauled our retail offering by working closely with our partners to maximise value for them and us. This has resulted in greater choice and quality for passengers and shoppers."

As part of the continued investment in stations to increase capacity and improve the environment for passengers, Network Rail also highlighted the seven new restaurants opening in spring this year at Manchester Piccadilly, totalling nearly 12,000 sq ft, as an example of this growth.

Network Rail said all profit from its retail activity is re-invested in the railway, limiting the cost to tax payers and passengers.

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