HUNDREDS of shoppers packed out a retail park to visit a new M&S Foodhall in Gosport.
The store opened today at Brockhurst Gate Retail Park – a new £9m site in Heritage Way.
It joins McDonald's, Costa Coffee, and Home Bargains, which also recently opened, and new store Lidl and Iceland’s Food Warehouse are due to open later this month.
READ MORE: Costa Coffee opens at Brockhurst Gate
More than 500 people formed an orderly queue as the M&S store opened at 10am – eager to get their hands on one of 200 golden tickets containing prizes including from money-off coupons up to £200.
First in the queue was April Jones, 45, from Gosport.
She said: ‘I came by on my bike and I was having a look to see when they open and one of the staff said that I might be in with a chance of winning so I thought I’d stick around.
‘I came to the opening of Home Bargains on Saturday and that was very good. The whole site is brilliant.’
Behind April in the queue were Sarah Grant, 50, from Rowner and Susan Corless, 68, from Alver Village.
Sarah said: ‘This is just what Gosport needs. It is brilliant. M&S is great for value and the quality of the food is brilliant. The staff are always polite. I think this park will bring people into Gosport.’
Susan added: ‘Gosport High Street is dead - there’s not a lot going on. The retail park is handy and it is free to park.. It is somewhere fresh and new to look at.’
Winning the top prize – a £200 voucher – was Royal Navy chef Scott Furber, from Elmhurst Road.
He was shopping with his partner Kayleigh Hay and couldn’t believe his luck.
The 32-year-old dad said: ‘I am shocked. My partner brought me here today and she can’t believe it.
‘Growing up around here, this site has always been an empty wasteland so it is nice to see it used. It has got to be good for the area.’
The M&S store has employed 46 people.
Store manager Alex Pattison said he was proud to see his team work so hard to get the store looking so good for the opening.
The 31-year-old has worked for M&S for 14 years at various stores including West Quay, Hedge End, Cowes and Blandford.
He said: ‘I can’t tell you how excited I am to bring you this store. I really look forward to seeing you all in the store.
‘We have a fantastic range of products.
‘It has been a hectic journey to get the store ready but it’s been great fun. The shop is looking amazing.
‘It is fantastic to be here. This retail park is an amazing retail park.
‘We have some good businesses here with us and we are so pleased to be in this location. The people of Gosport have been waiting for an M&S for a long time.’
As well as the golden tickets, shoppers enjoyed complimentary drinks, free samples, goody bags and they got to meet M&S mascot Colin the Caterpillar.
The store is open Monday to , 8am to 8pm, and on Sunday, from 10am to 4pm.