Hartlepool’s new H&M clothes store is due to open to the public next month.
The official opening date for the shop, in Middleton Grange shopping centre, has been confirmed as Thursday, May 12.
This is an exciting opportunity to expand our brandH&M Country manager Carlos Duarte
It will occupy the central 1,600 square metre unit that was previously home to Marks & Spencer.
Opening day will be marked in style with a live DJ, children’s facepainting and free goodie bags for customers.
H&M’s country manager Carlos Duarte, said: “We are delighted to be opening at Middleton Grange shopping centre.
“This is an exciting opportunity to expand our brand.
“The store will offer something for everyone, no matter your age, budget or personal style.”
Customers who join the queue before 11am on the day will also get a voucher for 25% off anything that day.
Work has been going on behind the scenes at the unit, which has been made bigger, for several months.
But it was only earlier this month that Middleton Grange announced H&M would be moving into the shopping centre after speculation for some time.
H&M opened its first UK store in 1976 and now has more than 260 branches in the UK and Ireland alone.
The Hartlepool store will sell women’s and men’s clothes as well as maternity, kidswear and the Divided brand.
Shoppers have broadly welcomed news of H&M’s arrival in Hartlepool and said it will prevent them travelling to branches out of town.
Mark Rycraft, Middleton Grange centre manager, said earlier: “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome H&M to the centre.
“This is a fantastic international brand that helps us enhance our already strong and growing fashion retail offer.
“We can’t wait for the doors to open in time for the summer.”
The loss of Marks & Spencer from the centre was seen as a big blow to Middleton Grange due to its prominent location and high-profile brand.
It re-located to Anchor Retail park, near Hartlepool Marina, last summer as a food-only outlet with new cafe.
Middleton Grange bosses are understood to be in talks with a national gym chain after councillors granted planning permission to convert the top floors of the old M&S unit in October.
There were fears for the future of another prominent Middleton Grange store last month after Hartlepool’s BHS was identified as one of 40 threatened with closure over rent levels.
Accountancy firm KPMG says it will remain open for at least 10 months while talks with the landlord continue.