HUNDREDS of people queued from as early as 6am as Iceland opened its doors for the very first time.

The ribbon was cut at the new Iceland store in Saxon Square, Christchurch, as it fully opened at 8am Tuesday.

The first hundred customers were given envelopes containing as much as £100 off their shopping.

Bournemouth Echo: The new Iceland store opened in Saxon Square, Christchurch

Phyllis Rich-Glass was the first customer through the doors and was given the honour of cutting the red ribbon.

She said: “It’s great to have this store. Not many people have transport and the closest store is Boscombe.

“Christchurch needs this sort of store. It needs a change, we all like change.

“I love that I am the first customer. I’m going to look round and buy whatever takes my fancy.

“This will be the store I come to do my weekly shop now. This is easier for the people in the local area and I think local people will appreciate it.

“We haven’t had an Iceland store in Christchurch for such a long time and it needed to come back.”

Bournemouth Echo: Phyllis Rich-Glass at the new Iceland store in Saxon Square, Christchurch

The queue for the store led out Saxon Square with staff members meeting and greeting customers.

The eager shoppers flocked in at 8am, and the 25 new staff members were ready to welcome them.

Among them was store manager Sam Ketchley. He said: “I’ve been part of the planning stage for this store for the last four months.

Bournemouth Echo: Manager Sam Ketchley at The new Iceland store in Saxon Square, Christchurch

“When I was told I was going to be manager I was over the moon because I live quite locally, I live in Southbourne, I’ve worked in our Boscombe store and I’ve worked in our Ringwood store and a lot of our customers do have to travel, to have a store slap bang in the middle of Christchurch will really please our customers.

“I’m really ecstatic about it. It’s a brand new store, it looks completely different to the rest of our stores and it really makes us stand out.

“I’m over the moon because all the new recruits I’ve hired for the store have really excelled and really pushed themselves.

“We’ve recruited very local people because they’re the people who bring customers into our store. I wanted to do that for a personal touch.”

Mr Ketchley said he was thrilled with the turn out for the grand opening and said although Iceland was the “underdog”, the new store was accessible and could be used for a family shop or a smaller shop and was “great value for money”.

Bournemouth Echo: The new Iceland store opened in Saxon Square, Christchurch