Hundreds of St Helens shoppers queued to snap up first day discounts at H&M as the fashion retailer opened its latest shop.
Around 20 jobs have been created at the 14,000 square feet store in Church Square Shopping Centre.
St Helens Mayor Councillor Stephen Glover snipped a ribbon before officially declaring the shop, in the centre’s Lagrange Arcade, open.
Shoppers had queued in a bid to get opening discounts of up to 25% on H&M’s womenswear, menswear and childrenswear collections.
The event also saw a DJ on the decks as store staff danced around the shop aisles before the countdown to the opening. Throughout the day there was also balloon modelling and face painting for the little ones. Goody bags were also be handed out to customers in the queue on launch morning.
Cllr Glover said “It’s fantastic that H&M have recognised that St Helens is the right place to open their latest retail outlet. Renowned for their affordable prices, and their choices for all the family, the town’s residents will no longer have to travel out of town to check out what’s on offer.
“I wish the shop every success for the future.”
First in the queue, which stretched out from the centre on to Church Square itself, was Sam Shevlin from Sutton and her mum Pam.
Sam, a health care worker at St Helens hospital, was heading for bargains for her daughters Heidi, seven, and Jodie, 22.
“Heidi loves H&M clothes and she has given me a shopping list, ” said Sam. “Previously I had to go to Liverpool so it’s great to have an H&M right here in St Helens.”
Next in the queue was Kerri-Ann Hartgen, 24, from Fingerpost, a Wolverhampton University student.
“I usually go to Birmingham for H&M so it’s great to be able to come back home and go shopping in the town centre.
“I am looking for things for my little sister Serena, who is four. It’s great to have fashionable clothes for children, as well as people my age.”
The new H&M store comes just a month since fashion retailer Fat Face opened its largest UK store in the centre, while both Scotts menswear and jewellery store Pandora have recently moved into larger, revamped stores.
Church Square Shopping Centre manager Steve Brogan said: “We have worked closely with H&M over the last months and I am delighted that the store is open in time for Christmas.
“There has been a great turn out today, and we are expecting H&M to be extremely popular with shoppers. Together with the new Fat Face outlet store, it will help bring in even more shoppers to the town centre, which is excellent for the economy of St Helens.
“Church Square Shopping Centre is already home to a range of big name stores – such as River Island, BHS, Boots and Superdrug – along with independent retailers plus the busy St Mary’s Market.”
St Helens Council Leader, Barrie Grunewald said: “The opening of a quality store like H&M is a massive boost in the arm for the town centre and I am sure shoppers will be flocking to Church Square to get a look at the fashion choice now available.
“Although the town centre has had a difficult time in recent years, with the arrival of H&M and recently Fat Face I very much hope this will pave the way for many big names to follow suit and invest here in St Helens.”
Shopper Rachel Ternent,35, from St Helens, said: ” The centre is looking really good, there are lots of great shops here now, it certainly seems very popular.”
H&M has been present in the UK since 1976, having opened the first H&M store in Brent Cross Shopping Centre, North London. H&M now has a portfolio of 252 locations across the UK and Republic of Ireland as well as hm.com.