Shoppers flock to new £15million Sunderland store

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Bags full of bargains were the order of the day as Sunderland’s new Primark opened its doors to the public, Katy Wheeler reports as the doors opened for the first time.

THE QUEUES at both entrances to the new Primark store were testament to the anticipation surrounding Sunderland’s newest shop.

Staff welcome customers into the official opening of the new Primark store in The Bridges Sunderland.

Staff welcome customers into the official opening of the new Primark store in The Bridges Sunderland.

Fifteen months after the High Street West entrance to the Bridges closed, a gleaming £15million store now stands in its place which opened to the public yesterday.

Purse-friendly and on-trend, the brand had already accrued a firm following at its old base in Fawcett Street, which is now closed, and ten minutes after its opening the new shop was already full of shoppers eager to pick up a bargain.

At twice the size of the old Primark, there’s a lot more space to peruse the shop which is able to carry more lines than its original Sunderland base.

Councillor Iain Kay, Mayor of Sunderland, cut the ribbon on the store which employs 242 staff, including the 146-strong work force from the Fawcett Street branch.

Customers flood in the official opening of the new Primark store in The Bridges Sunderland.

Customers flood in the official opening of the new Primark store in The Bridges Sunderland.

“I’ve just had a tour of the store and I can’t believe it’s a Primark,” he said.

“It’s so far removed from the early Primark stores that I remember.

“It’s a magnificent store and a magnificent addition to the high street which will drive traffic to the high street outside. I think it’s the bee’s knees.”

The Millfield ward representative added: “Given how it looks, I don’t see how it can’t be successful.

“I want to thank Primark for having faith in Sunderland.”

The 37,000 sq ft store covers two floors stocking women’s, men’s and children’s fashion as well as accessories and homeware.

Store manager Paula Richardson said: “It’s been a long time coming but I think this store is fantastic.

“We’ve had strong public support and I think it’s going to be very popular.”

She added: “The Fawcett Street branch was always popular and I think that’s because we offer excellent value.”

Twitter: @sunechokaty