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'Shwop' until you drop: Greenest M&S store ever opens its doors

THE three year wait is finally over with the grand opening of the M&S store at Cheshire Oaks today led by Plan A Ambassador Joanna Lumley, M&S CEO Marc Bolland and store manager Hilary Wilkinson.

The 151,000 sq ft 'sustainable learning' store, which has taken 550,000 man-hours to build, encapsulates the very best that M&S has to offer and is the largest M&S store outside of London. The store opened to an eager crowd of shoppers keen to get their very first glimpse inside.

Hundreds of people joined the queue for the launch of the new store, arriving as early as 8am to get the first glimpse of Joanna Lumley and Marc Bolland cut the ribbon. Marc Bolland was the first person at Cheshire Oaks to embrace the new 'Shwopping initiative', shwopping his very first M&S suit, which he bought when he landed the top job at M&S, in favour of a new sustainable suit.

Shoppers Maureen Scott and Karen Couchman were amongst the hoard of customers in-store on launch day. Maureen said: “The store is very spacious and bright and really has the wow factor. I am very impressed with both the store itself and all the fashion ranges it has inside.”

Karen added:”I am really bowled over by the Food hall, which looks fantastic. The new Deli counter is a real highlight - the challenge will be what to try first.”

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer, said: "We've been working hard over the past 18 months to deliver a more inspirational shopping environment for our customers. We've developed better navigation, clearly defined our sub brands, we've made it easier to 'shop the shop', developed new Home and Beauty concepts and have a new look Food hall to better demonstrate the freshness and specialty of our food.

Hundreds of people joined the queue for the launch of the new store, arriving as early as 8am to get the first glimpse of Joanna Lumley and Marc Bolland cut the ribbon. Marc Bolland was the first person at Cheshire Oaks to embrace the new Shwopping initiative, shwopping his very first M&S suit, which he bought when he landed the top job at M&S, in favour of a new sustainable suit.

Shoppers Maureen Scott and Karen Couchman were amongst the hoard of customers in-store on launch day. Maureen said: “The store is very spacious and bright and really has the wow factor. I am very impressed with both the store itself and all the fashion ranges it has inside.”

Karen added:”I am really bowled over by the Food hall, which looks fantastic. The new Deli counter is a real highlight - the challenge will be what to try first.”

Marc Bolland, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer, said: "We've been working hard over the past 18 months to deliver a more inspirational shopping environment for our customers. We've developed better navigation, clearly defined our sub brands, we've made it easier to 'shop the shop', developed new Home and Beauty concepts and have a new look Food hall to better demonstrate the freshness and specialty of our food.

"We've achieved this by using new technology and a much more interactive shopping experience so that customers can 'shop their way'. Cheshire Oaks is a special store as it is all here, under one roof for the first time - the very best of M&S.

"This is also our greenest ever M&S store and we call it a 'sustainable learning store' as around 60 per cent of the eco features featured in Cheshire Oaks will become standard spec for M&S stores."

Store manager, Hilary Wilkinson, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to have finally opened the store today, and the reaction from customers so far has been fantastic.

“With a long building process, which has involved so many members of the local community, we expected to see lots of people at the opening, however we've been overwhelmed with the number of people who came from far and wide to see Joanna and Marc help us to open the store.

“It has been wonderful to see shoppers explore everything the store has to offer and we look forward to welcoming them back in the months and years to come.”

Cheshire Oaks is one of M&S' greenest stores, built with the latest in sustainable building technologies and practices.

Joanna Lumley was on hand to encourage customers to “Shwop”. In partnership with Oxfam, shwopping is M&S' free clothes recycling initiative which aims to create a ‘buy one, give one' culture on the UK high street and help reduce the 500,000 tonnes of clothing that go to landfill every year.

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About Charlie Kennedy

Having studied Law, English and Philosophy, I went travelling to India for 6 weeks working in orphanages and in a leper colony. I came home and decided to study Journalism. Starting my third and final year this September, I have just been given the fanta... read more