THE eagerly awaited Primark clothing store opened its doors in Basingstoke today.

A queue of excited shoppers formed outside The Malls shopping centre's anchor store before the 9am opening, which was carried out by the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor Warwick Lovegrove.

Primark director Breege O'Donoghue said the 55,000-square-metre unit was opening on budget and two days early.

She said: "We've wanted to come to Basingstoke for many years. It's such a significant borough and we know there are great opportunities here."

The new store replaces Allders, which left The Malls' largest shop space empty when it closed three years ago.

The borough council and joint owners Key Property Investments Ltd leased the store to Primark in August.

Store manager Brett Bulmer said The Malls would benefit from the new addition.

He said: "This area has been slightly quiet since Allders left so it is just great to have this beautiful shop occupying the space."

The store, which employs 204 people, is in the top 25 largest Primark stores in the UK.

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