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Thursday, 24 April 2014

New Workington store is engulfed by first day shoppers

More than 100 shoppers surged into H&M as the doors opened at the international clothing chain’s new Workington store yesterday.

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SHOPPING SURGE: Customers rush to get the first look around the new H&M store in Workington town centre, which opened its doors yesterday

A large queue gathered outside the new two-storey shop in Risman Place for the 11am opening.

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-time 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.

“We hope our new autumn/winter collections will be well received.”

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, who waited in the queue with daughter Charlotte Dougherty, 18, said: “We are very excited. It saves travelling to Carlisle.”

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

Sharon Conway, Select store manager, said: “We have had a really warm reception. The store is bright, it’s airy, it’s new and it’s 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.”

Customers will also be able to shop late on Thursdays in the run-up to Christmas. Around 30 shops in Workington town centre will 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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