Dining brands performed the strongest of all retail sectors at Network Rail-operated stations in the three months to the end of June, as Network Rail posted its best retail results for four years, aided by investments at key locations and favourable weather.

Like-for-like sales among dining brands grew 16.7%, with pubs and bars at +12.2, behind specialist food retailers (+14.7%). High performing brands included Prêt A Manger, Costa, M&S Simply Food, Paperchase, Leon and Giraffe, Network Rail said.

Retail sales at stations continued to comfortably outperform the high street. Network Rail’s retail sales grew 6.4% on a like-for-like basis during the period, compared to a 0.4% rise in overall retail sales.

Network Rail, which operates 16 of Britain’s biggest stations including 10 in London, said: “Trading at both King’s Cross and Waterloo benefited from major investment schemes enabling new retail facilities to be added to the station environment, offering customers a wider choice of food and beverage, and retail brands.

“During this period retail sales also benefited from better weather, and Easter falling in the previous quarter, compared to the same period the previous year, enabling Network Rail to post the best retail results recorded since 2009.”

Jonathan Crick, director of retail at Network Rail, said: “While growth on the high street remains relatively flat, retail in stations continues to grow dramatically. This set of retail results shows how the change in retail strategy combined with investment in new retail space has enhanced the whole station environment, contributing to a strong retail performance even in like-for-like comparisons.

“Even more so for overall sales. Stations offer a vibrant and healthy trading environment and we are continuing to attract new brands to enhance the breadth of retail offered to passengers.”

Network Rail operates 520 retail units and more than 500,000 sq ft of retail space in total.