HATCH Warren’s newest supermarket opened its doors this morning, as shoppers queued outside and Basingstoke’s mayor cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Lidl, at Hatch Warren Retail Park on Wallop Drive, opened its doors to customers for the first time at 8am on Thursday, December 3.

Mayor of Basingstoke, Cllr Diane Taylor, said: “It’s nice to be opening something when it’s actually opening day!

“It’s an absolute honour to welcome Lidl to Hatch Warren.”

Despite wet weather, shoppers queued outside from 07:30 to make sure they bagged the best bargains.

“We are mad!” said Jackie Shead, 53, of Black Dam. “But it’s good competition for Sainsbury’s”

Anthony Godinho, 66, of Hatch Warren said: “I’m trying to save some money - it’s all about the money! It’s such a fierce market. Hopefully there will be sone bargains, we’ll have to wait and see!”

Mike, 73, added: “It also helps the carbon footprint of people travelling from one end of Basingstoke to the other to go to Lidl.”

Winston Gooden-Husbands, 57, and Lloyd Higgins, 34, from Beggarwood, said: “It’s brilliant! It’s a bit of a change, we love a bargain. And nice to see the shelves stocked for a change.

“It’s a case of use it or lose it. It’s good for the community. We have the pub now, and the care home and now a new supermarket.”

Karen Priestley, 45, said: “At Christmas it’s mental so I’ve been getting up and coming shopping early for 3 weeks.

“I love the bakery! I don’t know if that’s a good thing - I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks! Hopefully I don’t spend too much,” she added.

When asked what encouraged him to come along for the opening, David May, 46, from Hatch Warren, said: “It’s just a stone’s throw away. It’s about keeping safe as well. I didn’t want to turn up and see hundreds of people.

“There’s various bits and pieces we like that they do. It mixes it up, it’s different to Sainsbury’s and to be quite honest it keeps the big boys on their toes. It’s always interesting what they’ve got on offer when they’re opening a store.”

Store Manager, Graham Jones, told the Gazette he was “so excited” to unveil the new shop.

He explained it’s different, modern, design, with oak panels, and sections arranged for convenience, sets it apart from other Lidl branches.

Reacting to the opening’s success, he said: “It’s always a worry that no one will be out there, but there were queues this morning. It’s amazing!

“It’s really such a nice store. We have opening offers, and our focus is not just on price cuts, but also on customer service.”

Inside, the aisles were spacious and early-bird shoppers had plenty of room to browse at leisure. Brand ambassadors were to encourage customers to download the Lidle Plus app for more deals, and to offer every shopper the chance to get some money off their shop in the ‘spin to win’ competition.

Home appliances and technology were among the most popular buys.

Lukas Koshan, 39, travelled from Reading for the opening. “I just wanted to check it out!” he said. “Maybe save some money.”

He picked two cut-price blenders for himself and family, and says if they’re good, he may come back for more.

Loren Perry-Grout, 40, from Beggarwood said: “I just needed carrots, and thought ooh the new store is open let’s try there! It looks amazing, really clean and organised. Sainsbury’s is good and local but more expensive. Now I’m here I’ll pick up a few bits, and I’ll definitely come back.”

The new Hatch Warren Retail Park Lidl store is open from 8am to 10pm Monday - Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.