STAFF at a new M&S store at Havant expressed their excitement as they prepared the finishing touches for its grand opening.
The News got an exclusive look inside the huge store before it opens its doors to the public on Thursday at 10am.
The 50,000 square feet shop at the Solent Retail Park, Havant, is built over two floors and has many different departments including women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, food, beauty as well as a cafe.
The new store has given employment a boost in the area, with the majority of its 120 staff being local.
It comes after an increase in jobs when Next opened its new store at the site in April.
Store manager Lincoln Ashley said the new store was a great development for the Havant area.
He said: ‘It was really important to us that we recruited directly from the community and over 70 people from the area have got a job here.
‘The fact that the staff live here and the customers live here means the store will be more accessible and will hopefully attract people to come to Havant.’
Mr Ashley also showed his enthusiasm for the new store as he explained how it had been given a contemporary design.
He said: ‘We have been planning this for a long time so it’s fantastic to see everything coming together.
‘This store is a boutique store, which is a new concept for M&S.
Everything about the layout and decor is much more lighter.
‘It is very modern, there are trees within the store and digital screens throughout to make the shopping experience more relaxed and easier.
‘We have been planning this for a long time, so it’s fantastic to see everything coming together.’
Deputy manager Sophie Thomas said: ‘We’re all really excited and it’s a great opportunity to be a part of the team bringing the store to the area. It’s like our baby, we can’t wait for it to open.’
Staff have been working non-stop to add the final details in time for the store’s open day. They have planned a number of events for Thursday’s opening including in-store competitions and food and drink tasting. Radio presenter and News columnist Steve Power from Wave 105 will also be there.