THE aisles of a new toy store were packed with shoppers getting ready for the festive season.

Shoppers braved the weather to be among the first through the door of the new Smyths Toys in the St Michael’s Retail Park, Brighton Hill.

The store officially opened today with a DJ playing music as shoppers were greeted into the shop.

Smyths is the latest addition to the shopping destination that already houses an Aldi supermarket, Wren Kitchens, Oak Furniture Land and as well branches of Nando's and Costa Coffee. A Greggs restaurant is also the pipeline.

As well as goodie bags being handed out, there was a face painting station and a chance to meet the Elf of the Shelf as staff at the store get ready for Christmas.

Store manager, James Duffield said:” It is always an exciting event when a new Smyths store opens and judging by the amount of people we have had through the door in the first half hour, it is something the people of Basingstoke wanted.

“With the nearest store being Reading, it can be a bit or a journey, so I think families are very pleased to see the store opening.”

He added: “We have opened at the busiest time of the year for retail store, so it is very much we have hit the ground running, but we are excited to bring in the festive season.”

Many of the shoppers were getting the jump on their Christmas shopping, others had just popped along to see what was on offer.

Chloe Higgins, who lives in Hatch Warren, was at the opening with her six-year-old daughter.

She said: “I had seen that the store was opening so thought I would come along, and maybe get a feel for what to get the little one for Christmas, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this busy.

“It’s good for the town that people still want to come out and do their shopping.”

Another shopper, who was with his wife and son added: “Since Toys’R’Us closed Basingstoke was missing somewhere like this, and I think that is obvious by the amount of people who are here.

“Though if we spend too long in here things might start getting a bit expensive for me," the man joked.