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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Fashion chain H&M opens new shop in Workington

International fashion chain H&M opened its doors in Workington to a rush of eager shoppers after more than 100 people queued outside the store in Risman Place for the 11am ceremony.

H&M store opening photo
Head of the queue were Elaine Clynes, left, Victoria Hughes, with Beau Hughes and Chase Hughes

They were welcomed by staff with balloons and the first 100 customers were given free £5 gift vouchers.

The clothing store has created 20 full and part-time jobs. On the ground floor is women’s clothing and upstairs are children’s and men’s clothes.

Carlos Duarte, H&M’s country manager for the UK and Ireland, said: “The Washington Square shopping centre is an exciting new location for us.”

Customers were excited to have a big high street brand on their doorstep.

Scott Parker, 39, of Lostrigg Close, Workington, who was with 19-month-old son Archie, said: “It’s especially good for clothes for kids.

“Workington is getting better all the time for shopping.”

Michelle Gray, 42, of Ennerdale Road, Maryport, waited in the queue with daughter Charlotte Dougherty, 18.

She said: “We are very excited. It saves travelling to Carlisle.”

The H&M launch follows the recent opening of women’s clothing chain Select Fashion in Ivison Lane, which employs two full-time and eight part-time staff.

Store manager Sharon Conway said: “We have had a really warm reception. The store is bright, its airy, its new and its refreshing.”

Dave Fletcher, development manager for Washington Square, said he was pleased that Workington was attracting big high street brands.

He said: “We are now the fashion capital in Cumbria. It’s going to stop people going to Carlisle, which helps in this economic climate with the rising cost of fuel.”

Shoppers will also be able to shop late on Thursdays in the run-up to Christmas.

Around 30 shops in Workington town centre will be open until 7pm starting this Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Workington branch of Comet could be among 125 stores to close over the next few weeks.

Administrators Deloitte announced on Wednesday that they intend to begin closing 125 stores, which will leave about 70 shops open until remaining stock is sold.

Chris Farrington, joint administrator, said they remained in discussions with interested parties and if any acceptable offers were received then they may delay the closure process.

But, in the absence of a firm offer for the business, stores will begin closing in December.

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