Network Rail, the operator of UK stations, says it has outperformed the high street after reporting a 1.21% rise in like-for-like retail sales between April and June 2012, with food and beverage outlets performing the strongest. Top performing categories were specialist food retail (+17.7%), specialist food catering (+13.7%), restaurants (+8.48%) and bars (+8.42%). Strongest growth was experienced at Manchester Piccadilly (+11.2%), followed by London Victoria (+8.02%) and Fenchurch Street (+7.02%), compared to the same period last year. However, the firm said engineering works in preparation for the Olympics and part station closures impacted on trading at Liverpool Street, Network Rail’s busiest station in London, as well as Waterloo and Paddington. However, the figures show growth has slowed since the 4.15% increase reported last period (January to March 2012), which was Network Rail’s best quarterly growth in retail sales for the financial year of 2011/12. The figures apply to 17 stations and a total of 580,000 sq ft of retail space, incorporating 520 units, with combined annual footfall of over a billion. Network Rail pointed out that the like-for-like increase between April and July compares to a 0.2% fall in retail sales in high streets across the same period, according to the British Retail Consortium. David Biggs, director of property at Network Rail, said: “While growth on the high street remains flat, retail in stations continues to grow. The wettest weather on record in 100 years, the extended Jubilee bank holiday weekend and an increase in major weekend engineering work in preparation for the Olympics all contributed towards some tougher periods for retail in stations. “However, the fact we are still able to post an increase in revenue shows our stations still provide some of the most lucrative trading environments available to retailers today. “ Network Rail said that total sales in the first quarter of trading at the new 22,000 sq ft retail space at London‘s King’s Cross reported total sales of more than £8m, an average weekly increase of 23%. The development saw an extra 22 units added to the station’s retail capacity, with Patisserie Valerie among the new additions in the most recent quarter. Sales of over £34m are predicted by the end of 12 months trading – an increase of £15.6m from 2010/11.