1. ITV Report

Why products are more expensive in train stations than the high street

  • Video report by ITV News' Consumer Editor Chris Choi

How many times have you bought a last-minute essential item at a railway station - and been shocked at how much more it costs than on the high street?

At rail stations, consumers can find convenience but it often comes at a price and businesses claim the mark-ups are because of rental costs.

But concerned customers have an ally - the boss of Network Rail, who told ITV News there's no need to charge extra.

Our survey found a Cadbury's creme egg at a WH Smith in Euston Station was 89p but on the high street it's priced at 79p - a 13% difference.

An ITV News survey found a Cadbury's creme egg at a WH Smith was cheaper on the high street than at Euston station. Credit: PA

However WH Smith said "prices on some of our products vary in Travel locations".

Coffees purchased from Greggs further illustrate the point.

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi found one flat white in Birmingham City Centre costs £1.90 but just a few feet away at the train station it is 40p more.

The bakery chain echoed the same reasoning as WH Smith saying: "pricing can vary slightly in locations where running costs are higher".

Prices also vary at Wetherspoon where the cost of an English breakfast purchased at Leeds train station is 50p more compared to a meal bought in a high street branch.

The price difference of an English breakfast from Weatherspoons. Credit: ITV News

Eddie Gershon, who works for the pub chain, confirmed that travel hubs "will be more expensive than at a Wetherspoon on a typical high street."

He added: "The main reasons relate to the level of rents and business rates."

Starbucks also charge a premium price for their products including paninis at Birmingham New Street station.

The coffee shop also confirmed prices may vary slightly depending on location, which "reflects the cost of doing business in that location".

David Biggs, Managing Director for Network Rail Property, said they encourage retailers to compare their prices to those on the high street.

He said: "We really encourage our retailers to look at prices in that geographical area to make sure it is high street competitive."

When asked about business costs for rental spaces he confirmed stations are "prime facilities" so retailers would expect to pay "a little bit more" in their rental cost.

The price difference of a ham and cheese panini from Starbucks. Credit: ITV News

Mr Biggs continued: "Retail at our stations meets an important need for our customers and communities, so with time for commuters being so scarce, we provide facilities they want to use and can use in their busy lives."

"Unlike the high street we've had positive growth - quarter in, quarter out - over the last five years at our stations."

Retail analyst Samantha Dover said the noticeable changes to WH Smith's costs "highlight how strongly the travel sector is performing at present".

"It's been an ongoing story at WH Smiths, what we've seen is that travel business is what is driving growth whilst their high street stores are kind of being used as a cash generative for the rest of the business," she added.

However Ms Dover did say customers are becoming more savvy and if they recognise they are paying a lot in travel hubs, they will often stop purchasing in these areas.