Crowds of shoppers as Primark opens in Lancaster

Staff waiting to greet customers at the new Primark store in Lancaster.
Staff waiting to greet customers at the new Primark store in Lancaster.

Shoppers swarmed into the new Primark store in Lancaster as it opened its doors today.

The Marketgate shop opened at 10am and massive crowds of people poured through the doors.

Primark was officially opened by the mayor of Lancaster, Coun Robert Redfern.

The city centre store received more than 1200 job applications and have employed 169 people from across the district. Of these employees, 56 are returning back to work and 20 are starting their first job at the retailer.

Andy Stewart, regional controller at Primark, said: “The team are a true credit to the store and to Anthony, the manager.

“We are delighted to open a store in Lancaster, all of you have worked very hard, with enthusiasm, to complete this fantastic project.”

The city centre retailer is the 170th Primark store to open in the UK.

Susan Parsonage, chief executive at Lancaster City Council, said: “I have shopped in Primark before, in different parts of the country.

“It is a good brand and it is going to be good for Lancaster.

“It will increase footfall, increase visitors, boost the economy, it will bring people from outside Lancaster who don’t have access to a Primark, like places like Kendal.

“One of the biggest things we will see is benefits for all traders in the area, the independent traders, as more people come to Primark so to will they go elsewhere.

“To have a mixture of retail is great.”

The store which covers 31,000 sq ft over two floors has 37 fitting rooms, 22 tills, 183 mannequins and 59 light boxes.

Coun Redfern said: “It is a fantastic addition for shoppers and visitors to our city as well as a welcome economic boost for the district.

“Primark have donated £5,000 to my charity, the Diabetes Centre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.”

Chris Beckerman, Managing Director of Roubaix Group who own Marketgate, said: “We invested into Marketgate and Lancaster because we could see the tremendous potential and now, with the opening of the much sought after Primark today, we are experiencing real excitement.

“This is a landmark opening for Marketgate and will cement Lancaster’s reputation as a fashion destination for the region.

“We are very grateful for the overwhelming local support during the construction of the new store and we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits come to our neighbours and businesses across the city centre too.

“Our neighbours have been very understanding and patient while we have completed the improvement work and, once again, I’d like to thank them for that.”

The opening of the store did not please all of the community.

Sisters, Chloe Levis, 24 and Rachael Levis, 21 protested outside the store.

Chloe said: “We are saddened to see the market, that was for local people to sell local produce be monopolised by another huge corporation.

“Primark has a long history of exploitation, we strongly feel this company pursues profit at the expense of people and the planet.”

In addition, to the new Primark store, a wide range of other enhancements have been made at Marketgate including redecoration of the centre, improvements to lighting, new signage and the re-opening of the upper level car park.