Network Rail, which owns and manages 16 of Britain’s biggest stations, has reported a 2.35% rise in sales for the three months to the end of 2011, which was again driven by strong growth across its food and beverage categories. Food, grocery and catering categories continue to show the highest levels of growth across the portfolio, with specialist food catering brands posting a strong performance up 15.4%, and specialist food retail with a 10.6% increase, whilst bars increased by 9.3% and restaurants by 5.7%. These figures were compiled from the results of retailers operating across 560,000sqft of retail space (493units/shops) and benefiting from a combined annual footfall of over a billion. Manchester Piccadilly achieved the best performance with 7.2% growth in sales followed by London Waterloo and Victoria with sales up by 6.6%. Strong trading results were also achieved at Birmingham, up 5.7%, London Bridge 4.78% and Edinburgh 3.15%. Network Rail’s head of retail Gavin McKechnie said: “In such a challenging economic climate these figures are encouraging and mainly thanks to the guaranteed footfall through our stations. During this trading period commuter passenger flows were disrupted with Christmas falling at a weekend, despite this Network Rail managed stations continue to give our retail partners a real edge over the high street.” In March, Network Rail will be unveiling the new retail balcony at King’s Cross with 27,000sq ft of additional retail space, which will include a flagship food-led pub from Fuller’s called Parcel Yard and a first transport hub site for Prezzo. The F&B line up at the development, which will open 19 March, will also include first train station sites for Leon, Benito’s Hat and Yalla Yalla, while Giraffe will open its new Giraffe Stop format at the transport hub. Pret A Manger, Caffe Nero, M&S Simply Food, Pasty Shop, Starbucks and Upper Crust complete the food and drink offer.