HUNDREDS of people queued to get into a huge new Marks & Spencer store in Havant.
Cllr Faith Ponsonby, the Mayor of Havant, cut the ribbon to officially open the store at 10am today.
Customers were treated to wine and canapes as they flooded into the smart new store.
The 50,000 square feet shop at Solent Retail Park 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 store has created 120 jobs, with 70 people from the Havant area getting positions at the store.
First in the queue was Elaine Duncan, 62, from Denvilles, Havant.
The retired manufacturing supervisor said: ‘I was here at 9.15am.
‘I have just been enjoying waiting in the sunshine.
‘I enjoy M&S food court.
‘I really want to be able to shop at M&S locally rather than having to go to Chichester or Waterlooville.’
Lisa Gibbs, 46, from Bedhampton, was close behind her.
‘I love M&S,’ she said.
‘I always shop at every store.
‘I have even got my M&S bag to get some bargains.
‘I think this will be good for Havant.
‘Havant needs this store.
‘The town itself doesn’t have much to offer apart from the usual Tesco.
‘This is going to put Havant on the map.’
Andrew Walker, 18, came to the store as a tribute to his grandfather Raymond Walker, who died at the age of 80 on Monday.
Andrew has fond memories of visiting M&S stores with his grandfather and grandmother Jennifer Walker, who live in Yorkshire.
‘They inspired me to go in here,’ he said.
‘I always came in here with my granddad as a kid and got chocolate lollipops.’
Gordon Scott, regional manager for M&S, told The News: ‘For us this is quite unusual.
‘Most of the stores we open are Simply Food stores. This is the first full-line store we have done for quite a while.
‘We think it’s a great catchment area.
‘We are looking forward to trading locally and we think it’s going to be a great business.
‘We are really well connected at this location.’