Hundreds of customers were queuing around the Purley Way Retail Park block this morning, for the first day of trading of the new Marks and Spencer store.
Supposed to be the guests of honour for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony opening were Percy Pig and Jason Perry. One of whom is the Mayor of Croydon.
The new 38,000sqft store has more than 150 free car parking bays available – so much for reducing emissions – and Marks and Spencer management said today it “offers local shoppers a fresh, market-style Foodhall, alongside a spacious clothing and home department”.
The store has created 150 new jobs, and implicit in comments attributed to Mayor Perry in the company’s official press release was an undertaking that the long-established Marks and Spencer in the town centre’s Whitgift Centre won’t be closing any time soon as a consequence of the establishment of this new, out-of-town site.
“The new store will enhance the shopping area in Purley Way for the local community and is a welcome addition to the branch in the Whitgift Centre, reinforcing the confidence that this leading national retailer has in the borough,” Mayor Perry is supposed to have said.
Marks and Spencer has plans for a £500million investment in what it calls its “store rotation programme”. They said today, “The new M&S Purley Way store will be the first of 20 new M&S stores that are due to open across the country this year.”
Those eager customers visiting for the first time today will have encountered fresh displays brimming with great quality, trusted value produce from M&S Select Farms, and a new bakery offering a wide range of freshly-baked breads, cakes and pastries.
Special offers this week include a pack of Braeburn apples for 85p, butternut squash at £1 and large avocados at 65p.
There are plenty of products suitable for barbeques and picnics over the coming May Day bank holiday and throughout the month of long weekends, such as Collection pork skewers, Coronation Colin the Caterpillar cakes, to something called “Hog Roast Doughnut Burgers” (don’t let Percy Pig find out), and Marksologist cocktail cans with Rosé Negroni Spritz and Smoked Pineapple Daiquiri.
Shoppers who spoke to Inside Croydon said that they had been impressed with the cheese selections and the dedicated M&S Wine Shop.
The customers encountered new, cutting-edge digital technology which could soon make queues a thing of the past, with a Scan and Shop option available via the M&S App, though there remains plenty of checkouts for speedy service.
Digital screens in-store also make it quicker and easier to Click and Collect orders from marksandspencer.com.
Management estimated as many as 500 locals started queuing from 6.30am to get the first look inside, and also to get their hands on 200 golden tickets, each one offering a prize, from a free bag of Percy Pigs, right up to a £200 M&S voucher.
Croydon FM, the borough’s digital radio station, broadcast its breakfast show live from the store to mark the occasion.
“We are thrilled to open today,” store manager Camilla Harris told Inside Croydon.
“The last few weeks have been spent putting the finishing touches to our new store and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone in the team who has worked so hard to make sure everything is ready for our big opening day.
“The store is an exciting investment in the future of M&S in Croydon and I can’t wait for our customers to explore all the new features that the store has to offer. We’re proud to introduce over 150 new recruits to M&S Purley Way who can’t wait to meet everyone.”
The store is located on the Purley Way CR0 4XJ and is open Monday to Saturday 8am to 10pm and on Sundays from 11am to 5pm.
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“Percy pig and Jason Perry, one of whom is Mayor of Croydon”. Classic 😀😀
To be associated with a fat pink blob, Percy Pig must be mortally offended!
Despite what has been said I do not see a future for the M&S store in the town centre. It might hang on in the short term but would go as part of any redevelopment of the Whitgift area.
Can someone explain to me why they were queueing for three hours?
Says in the story “Management estimated as many as 500 locals started queuing from 6.30am to get the first look inside, and also to get their hands on 200 golden tickets, each one offering a prize, from a free bag of Percy Pigs, right up to a £200 M&S voucher.”
It’s a shame they couldn’t have included some customer toilets!
Didn’t your mother tell you to always go before you go out, Ian?