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The new 24-hour Asda superstore is in business just days after Waitrose opened its doors to the public as the city goes shopping crazy.

A queue of almost 500 customers had gathered outside the multi-million pound store on the Greyhound Retail Park before the official opening at 10am today (Monday, November 10) where children from nearby Dee Point Primary tore apart a seven foot high replica of the City Walls in place of the usual ribbon-cutting.

Also present were the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, Bob and Sandra Rudd, town crier David Mitchell and the City of Chester Brass Band who provided musical accompaniment.

Chester Town Crier David Mitchell at the new Asda store on Greyhound Retail Park
 

Included in the offer are award-winning pizzas and a bakery, fresh pancakes, fresh fish, an opticians, as well as the latest fashions from George and home ware plus a café.

The superstore also features a ‘click and collect’ pick-up point for online shoppers with busy lives. People will be able to buy on the web and collect groceries at their convenience. Home shopping deliveries, straight to customers’ doors, will also be available.

Store manager Shaun Leech, who has worked with Asda for more than 20 years, said: “It’s been a huge project using the old frame of the Ten Pin bowling and Laser Quest and the other side, where the cinema was located, is completely new. It made sense to keep in line with the rest of the retail next door. It’s a 44,500 sq ft shop with everything in it, the whole Asda range.”

Inside the new Asda store on Greyhound Retail Park in Chester
 

Mr Leech attributes Asda’s success generally to “price and quality”. “We’re saving customers money every day. We are the cheapest retailer by 10%,” he added.

More than 280 staff have been recruited locally, including section leaders, from a staggering 5,000 job applications.

Mr Leech added: “We will probably, depending on sales and if we do well, we’ll recruit more. We have had a lot of colleagues come over to us from Morrisons and Toys R Us and all the other competition because they know what Asda’s like. We are a family-friendly organisation and we look after our colleagues, whether it be wages, whether it be benefits, whether it be the working hours.“

There has been concern about whether the road infrastructure will cope with the expected demand but the store manager explained that the road layout had been modified.

Keen to play an active role in the community, shoppers can vote in-store from a selection of three local charities, using green tokens, with the initial choice between Chester Aid to the Homeless, Hope House Hospice for terminally-ill children and, ironically for a grocery store, West Cheshire Foodbank for families struggling to make ends meet.

Sainsbury’s Local opens in Watergate Street, Chester, on Tuesday November 18.

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