Thousands of eager shoppers queued for big C&A reopening

The reopening of C&A after the war
The reopening of C&A after the war
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During the Second World War much of Commercial Road, Portsmouth, was destroyed by bombing and it was many years before it re-emerged to anything like its pre-war status.

One of the first stores to reopen was C&A and when the great day came, on March 24, 1950, thousands queued outside the store.

The Evening News reported that all the assistants were in their places and an expectant hush fell over the building as, at 2pm, the red-ribboned key was turned in the glass doors and Portsmouth’s first big post-war shop was open for business.

Outside, thousands of women, many of whom had been queuing since the early morning, moved forward to the bargain-filled counters. Mrs E Girling, of 42, Wingfield Street, Landport, had been waiting since 5.25am and she shouted: ‘Where are the bargains?!’

The following morning when normal hours resumed, store manager, Mr J S Stanley (who also managed the store before the war) said: ‘I estimate that about 6,000 customers had been served. Every department was crowded. Everything seemed equally popular and there was not a single complaint.’