The principle of the NS Stations retail policy is to leave the market to do what the market does best itself. This was given further substance last year. In addition to Kiosk, StationsHuiskamer (Station Living Room) and Railcatering, NS is continuing to operate the AH to go and Julia’s formats. The transfer of the formats for Starbucks, HEMA, Broodzaak and Smullers will be completed in the spring of 2019. Throughout the 2016-2019 strategy period, NS will continue to evaluate retail formats in order to reach justified decisions about whether those formats qualify for franchising. NS will continue to have a coordinating role so that it can offer visitors a good, varied range in the future too.
The decision to continue operating the AH to go and Julia’s formats ourselves was based on the original principle that we wanted to let the market do the things that it is now capable of handling. The AH to go format is the most advanced convenience/to-go format of its type and it therefore very much belongs at the station. We are continuing to handle commercial operation ourselves so that we can retain the maximum influence on the broad product range that this format offers to passengers. The Julia’s format meets a passenger need and is valued highly by passengers. At the same time, we note that there is no other experienced pasta-to-go format on the market and we believe we are able to develop the Julia’s format further.
Improvements to formats
Various retail formats were revamped in 2017. AH to go started the conversion of 21 shops at stations in the second half of 2017. Kiosk has opened new platform Kiosks following the example of previously renovated Kiosks at the major stations. We expect to convert about thirty Kiosk outlets per year.
In 2017 Smullers invested in new automation, allowing customers to get snacks from wall-mounted machines using a credit card, debit card or smartphone. Visitors can also make contactless payments at around 300 vending machines for sweets and soft drinks at about 70 stations.