Transport Hubs: Future Retail Destinations

Transport hubs can have extremely high footfall, especially in large cities, and this volume of people offer a great opportunity to the tenants within these spaces. Foundation Recruitment has seen a lot of similarities between shopping centres and the airport retail market, but it seems these resemblances can be seen throughout other transport hubs such as train stations.

Often, train station tenants consist of coffee shops and fast serving foods so people can grab something quick before their journey; however, they are becoming increasingly more populated by retailers. London St Pancreas has recently signed off a whole host of new high-end retailers including; Chanel, Calvin Klein and Ted Baker.

A massive trend spreading through the shopping centre management sector is consumers demanding convenience and it’s no different for train stations. There is an audience for a range of tenants including; retailers, entertainment, gifts, fashion and F&B. They all have a consumer base passing through wanting to shop and buy food in a convenient manner.

Often the people passing through train stations have limited time which can produce impulsive shoppers. Retailers need to make sure they are offering fast and efficient shopping experiences from customer service to merchandise displays.

I have been guilty of last minute shopping in the train station. Just last week travelling back to Manchester I found myself purchasing headphones so I could listen to music on the way home and a birthday card and present for my sister after last minute plans to meet at the station. Gifts are a very popular purchase at stations as often people are travelling to visit friends and family for occasions – especially over the Christmas period. WGSN reported that with the increased traffic over the festive period (Nov 19 – Dec 24) an extra £83m was spent by passengers.

Tourists are a high proportion of the crowds passing through. Tourists are often high spenders and have a big impact on our economy. If we can provide the opportunity to capture these shoppers and offer convenient and engaging experiences; it will likely have a positive impact on sales.

In October 2016, Oliver Bonas opened a store in Manchester Piccadilly train station. Following the success of this store, they opened another store in Manchester city centre on St Marys Gate in February this year. Using a station to test the market is very common; a lot of retailers use pop-up shops to promote their brand, product or service. This is a great way to approach a mass market, build brand awareness within the local community and ultimately, support the profitability of the brand within the area moving forwards.

The retail landscape is continually evolving and retailers need to access consumers at every possible touchpoint. We have seen a massive growth in the aviation retail arena of late, and it appears that more transport hubs are increasingly evolving into shopping destinations!

Kat Whitehead, Senior Marketing Executive, Foundation Recruitment 

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