EAGER shoppers lined up yesterday to be the first through the doors of Chester's new John Lewis At Home shop on Greyhound Retail Park.
The ribbon was cut at 9am by representatives of three local charities – Blacon Community Trust, Business Action on Homelessness and Nicola's Fund – which are being supported by the retail chain's Community Matters scheme.
The 38,000sq ft shop, the first 'at home' store in the North West and only the fifth nationally, has provided 226 new jobs.
It stocks a range of furniture, homewares, furnishing accessories and electrical and home technology.
Branch manager Mark Blundell said: "We are thrilled to be opening a new shop in Chester today. It's very important to us that we become a part of the Chester community and we look forward to meeting our customers in the coming weeks."
Staff first entered the store this weekend, after a team spent nine days stacking shelves with £1.9m worth of stock.
"We got the keys to the store on Saturday and every ten minutes there’s been a customer trying to get into the shop," said Mark.
“We are expecting a really busy day, but we also feel quite confident. We have got a really good-looking store."
The winner of John Lewis's art competition, Lydia Griffiths, was a special guest at the opening ceremony. The five-year-old beat other Chester schoolchildren with a picture of her favourite room and her winning creation will be displayed on one of the shop's new fridges for the first week of trading.
The branch boasts a customer cafe and a Click and Collect point, allowing shoppers to pick up products bought online - including clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics and toys not available in store.
'At home' Chester will be open from 9am to 7pm Monday to Saturday and 11am (10.30-11am browsing) to 5pm on Sundays.