Shoppers brave the snow, rain and a monster queue for Primark to take plunge as shops in city open

SHOPPERS braved the snow and the rain and a monster queue such was their desire to get back to get to do some retail therapy as lockdown restrictions eased.

By Steve Deeks
Monday, 12th April 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Monday, 12th April 2021, 5:05 pm
The Big reopening

Pictured: Lorraine Magnusson and Pauline Wadey  queuing to shop at Primark, Commercial Road, Portsmouth on 12 April 2021

Picture: Habibur Rahman
The Big reopening Pictured: Lorraine Magnusson and Pauline Wadey queuing to shop at Primark, Commercial Road, Portsmouth on 12 April 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

People flooded Commercial Road before waiting patiently to be able to step foot inside Primark after months of abstinence.

The wintry conditions were not enough to keep hordes of people from the reopening of their favourite shop as over more than people - mostly of whom were following social distancing rules - queued around the block for the 8am opening.

Michelle Leibrick and her husband Andy, who had queued for nearly an hour in the cold weather were ‘excited’ to be back shopping. ‘It’s nice to be back with people shopping again,’ Michelle, 52, said.

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The Big reopening Pictured: Claire young and daisy Campbell 10 queuing to shop at Primark, Commercial Road, Portsmouth on 12 April 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

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‘It feels strange to be back but lovely to be out again after all this time.

‘As long as people socially distance I think it will all be ok.’

Portsea mum and daughter Susan Piggott, 64, and her daughter Julie,42, had been queuing outside Primark from 8.30am but found themselves in the middle of a 600-strong queue.

Melanie Smith and her daughter, Liz McCloud of Marabella's Boutique, Commercial Road, Portsmouth Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘I’m fed up of being stuck inside, it’s just been so boring,’ Susan said. ‘It affects your mental health being stuck at home so much. It’s good to get out. I don’t mind the wait.

‘I’m not one for online shopping and prefer to go to the shops.’

Julie added: ‘People are happy to be out and have more spare money as they’ve not been out for so long.

‘We’re looking forward to having a look round some shops.’

The Big reopening Pictured: Julie and Susan Piggott queuing on Arundel street to shop at Primark, Commercial Road, Portsmouth on 12 April 2021 Picture: Habibur Rahman

Lorraine Magnusson was celebrating her 47th birthday after making a trip from Emsworth with Pauline Wadey, 68. ‘We’re both really looking forward to it, even though it was snowing earlier,’ Lorraine said.

Claire Young, 41, of Buckland, was out shopping with her daughter Daisy Campbell, 10. ‘It’s nice just to have some normality back,’ Claire said.

‘Daisy’s been off school and has not been able to get back so we wanted to go out to the shops. Daisy has some vouchers from Christmas.’

Meanwhile, shop workers said it had been a shock to the system going back to work after months away.

Tom Hellman of Sonner Toys, Commercial Road, Portsmouth Picture: Habibur Rahman

Tom Hallman, who works at Sonner Toys in Cascades, said: ‘It’s been a bit of a shock going back.

‘But it’s been nice to get back to normal. It’s been a tough year.’

Amanda Norris, who helps run independent clothes store Sparkles in Cascades Shopping Centre, said: ‘It’s been weird going back and felt like going back to school.

‘It’s good to be back. I’ve missed chatting with the customers and seeing all the different people.

‘It was a big blow when we had to close before Christmas when we just got all our stock.’

Amanda Norris of Sparkles Cascades, Commercial Road, Portsmouth Picture: Habibur Rahman

Mum and daughter Melanie Smith and Liz McLeod, who own Marabella’s Boutique in Cascades, said: ‘It’s good to be open again. We’ve missed the normality.

‘The online side of the business has kept us going but we’ve suffered massive losses with the shop being closed and the footfall you get from it.

‘We are lucky that we are a one-stop kids shop and the only one outside London to sell designer brands like Moschino. We’ve had to flog our guts out online to stay open.’

Liz added: ‘I was a bit nervous going back. It felt like I was starting a new job.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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