Full steam ahead for autumn and winter retail sales at stations: Manchester Piccadilly

Tuesday 28 Feb 2017

Full steam ahead for autumn and winter retail sales at stations

  • Manchester ranks first as Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh record a surge in station retail sales between October-December 2016
  • King’s Cross, Cannon Street and Paddington stations deliver strongest growth in London
  • Rise in sales for 19th successive quarter caps successful 2016 for station retailers

New statistics released today by Network Rail show that like-for-like retail sales at its managed stations grew by 3.7% between October and December 2016*. Just under £185 million was spent at Network Rail stations over the period, equivalent to almost £1,400 being spent every minute.

The figures suggest a continuation of the growing consumer trend towards station hubs being seen as great places to meet, eat, shop and travel, and this is supported by the greater variety of retail outlets delivered as part of ongoing Network Rail station upgrades.

  • Overall sales growth between October and December 2016 was strongest at Manchester Piccadilly (+21.6%), King’s Cross (+15.9%), Cannon St (+9.1%) and Paddington (+6.8%) following a flurry of recent openings.
  • Birmingham (+3.8%), Leeds (+3.8%) and Edinburgh (+3.6%) continue to grow above the national average in the final quarter of 2016, reflecting significant investment in Network Rail stations across the country.
  • 65.8 million people – or one in three station users – visited a station retailer between October and December.

The positive figures are a reflection of Network Rail’s ongoing investment at stations across Britain in recent years, with significant developments at Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham demonstrating that stations are becoming destinations in their own right.

2016 in review – a strong year for station retail sales

The data rounds off a strong year for station retailers, with total sales reaching almost £743 million from January to December.

Overall, 2016 sales growth was 3.5% across Network Rail’s managed stations in Britain and this was almost six times higher than the British Retail Consortium figures, which recorded a like-for-like increase of 0.6% over the same period**.

David Biggs, Network Rail’s managing director of property, said: “Today’s results show Network Rail’s ongoing investment in its managed stations is delivering an improved experience for passengers around Great Britain, whilst also generating vital funds to reinvest back into the railway. Our commitment to improving the retail offer across our portfolio means that station users have more choice than ever before, from mainstays such as coffee and food-on-the go, right through to high-end fashion and gifting.

“Consumers continue to move towards convenience shopping and stations are becoming an increasingly significant part of this change. Major new openings at London Bridge, expected later this year, are just one part of Network Rail’s efforts to develop multi-purpose station hubs that reflect this trend.”


Notes to editors


  1. Our managed stations

National stations

London stations

Birmingham New Street

Cannon Street

Bristol Temple Meads

Charing Cross

Edinburgh Waverley


Glasgow Central

King’s Cross


London Bridge

Liverpool Lime Street

Liverpool Street

Manchester Piccadilly



St Pancras International

(lower level)

Retail at St Pancras is managed by HS1






Based on station sales data recorded between 1 October and 31 December 2016

** This is an illustrative comparison only. The BRC comparison provides a snapshot of the retail industry, we are not comparing like-for-like.



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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

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The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

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