Shoppers flock to opening of new St Helens M&S store
Shoppers turned up in force for the opening of St Helens' new Marks and Spencer store.
Hundreds of people queued up outside the new shop on the Ravenhead Retail Park before Saints rugby league legend Paul Sculthorpe and Patricia Pennington, who is the mum of top comedian Johnny Vegas and a loyal M&S customers, did the ribbon-cutting honours.
Other news: Men charged with Factory nightclub assault on St Helens teenagerThe two-floor, 40,000 sq ft store opened after M&S closed its Church Street store at the start of March following 90 years of trading there.
The first 200 people in the line received golden tickets offering vouchers to be spent on opening day worth between £5 and £200.
Percy Pig helped staff, who have all moved to the new location from the previous St Helens store, welcome the customers as the St Helens Salvation Army Brass Band played.
The new store is the retail giant's biggest opening in the region for 2019 and also brings the M&S café to St Helens for the first time.
The move to Ravenhead Retail Park produced a thumbs-up from shoppers and employees alike.
Customer Louise Hampson from St Helens said: “I’ve had a lovely morning at the opening of the new store and I’m so impressed by how proactive store colleagues have been – they’ve taken us to the products we’ve asked about and have been very attentive.
"I knew it was going to be bigger, but I didn’t expect it to be such a nice experience and the café is such a great asset.
"It means that we’ve got somewhere to enjoy a cuppa while we’re shopping or if we just want to get out for lunch as a family."
Lucy Grimes, store manager, said: “The team has been working incredibly hard to get our bigger and better store ready for the grand opening, so it was brilliant to see such a fantastic turn-out and the local community enjoying all M&S has to offer.
"I’ve especially enjoyed welcoming familiar faces who have shopped with us in St Helens for many years, excited to try out the new café, as well as new customers who have already given such positive feedback about their experience with us.
"It was fantastic to see so many parents and tots enjoying being entertained by Percy too! We’re looking forward to being part of the community at Ravenhead Retail Park.”