Thousands of eager shoppers queued for big C&A reopening

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.

Friday, 23rd September 2016, 5:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:21 pm
The reopening of C&A after the war

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.

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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.’