Final preparations are being made for the official opening of the new M&S store at Rushden Lakes.
Store manager Emily King and her team of 152 staff cannot wait to welcome customers through the doors at 10am tomorrow (Friday).
The Northants Telegraph was invited along for a tour of the 42,000sq ft store spanning two floors ahead of opening to the public.
Emily said: “I am really excited, I just want to get the doors open and welcome our local customers in.”
Emily has worked for M&S for 12 years and described being manager of the new store as the ‘highlight of my career.’
She says her team, many of whom live locally, are just as excited as her to welcome people in and show them around the shop.
She particularly loves her new surroundings at Rushden Lakes and said: “The environment is beautiful, it’s a really unique retail park and one of the first things I did was walk over to the lake and realise how close it is.”
And she added: “This building is the best of what M&S has to offer.”
The store has extensive womenswear and lingerie departments, including a walk-in bra fitting service.
It also has a beauty department as well as menswear, kidswear and homeware departments and a click-and-collect service.
The foodhall will be one of the last departments to be stocked out in preparation for tomorrow’s opening.
But as well as filling the shelves and dressing the mannequins, staff have been busy training in recent days, including for the in-store bakery and new 130-seat cafe with views over the site.
Emily believes there’s a ‘really strong heritage with M&S’ and that people resonate with the brand and its values.
And she is hoping that people will join them as they celebrate the opening of their new store.
Shoppers can grab a glass of fizz from 10am on Friday.
Throughout the day there will be in-store sampling, competitions to win gift cards, experts on hand to offer wardrobe inspiration and free manicures.
There will be a brass band and a DJ providing music on the day.
The store will be open from 10am until 8pm on Friday.
From Saturday onwards, the opening times will be 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.
The store’s chosen charity for the year will be Rushden MIND, and they have been invited to be part of the store’s opening day celebrations.