Hundreds of shoppers flock to Hartlepool's new H&M store
More than 300 eager shoppers queued to get into a major new addition to Hartlepool's Middleton Grange shopping centre.
There were jubilant scenes for the official opening of H&M clothes store with staff dancing and bouncing music.
Shoppers streamed in after a countdown and ribbon cutting.
Centre bosses say the store has created 12 jobs and sees the large unit occupied again after nine months standing empty following the relocation of Marks & Spencer to the town's Anchor Retail Park.
Middleton Grange manager Mark Rycraft said: “We’ve been excited for H&M’s arrival for months now, but we were unable to confirm they were taking this great store until just a few weeks ago.
“There’s been a great deal of work done to make the unit bigger, and it looks absolutely fantastic. We’re really pleased that the people of Hartlepool can now get their first look.
“Our shoppers have been telling us just how excited they are for this new store and we’re delighted that it’s now open."
Covering 1,600 square metres of retail space the store carries a large selection of clothes for men, women and children, maternity and H&M's Divided label.
For the opening day a live DJ played in store and all queuing customers got a free goodie bag and face painting for children.
And the first 200 people through the door got 25% of everything they spent on the first day.
H&M's country manager Carlos Duarte earlier 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."
As part of H&M's launch, Middleton Grange is opening its multi-storey car park on Sunday, May 15, and May 22 when parking is free.
Mr Rycraft added: “We offer free parking on Sundays at the centre’s car parks, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to extend that to the multi-storey to meet the needs of customers over the next two weekends.”