HUNDREDS of people came to the launch of the new Marks & Spencer store, which opened this morning.

Queues went around the building as the 40,000 square feet store, which is over two floors, was opened by Pat Pennington, a regular customer of the previous store and Johnny Vegas' mum.

The new store includes an expanded clothing section, a food department and a 64-seat café.

Pat was joined by Saints' legend Paul Sculthorpe and the 99-strong M&S team as she cut the ribbon.

St Helens Star:

St Helens Star:

The first 200 customers in the queue on Thursday are being warded with golden tickets, offering a range of ‘spend today’ vouchers, from £5 to £200.

The St Helens Salvation Army brass band will be playing music.

St Helens Star:

St Helens Star:

The new store is the flagship M&S opening in the North West this year and, as well as expanded clothing departments, it has brought an M&S café to the town for the first time.

St Helens Star:

St Helens Star:

As the store's team – who have all moved across from the former Church Street store – put the finishing touches to the new store, the Star was given a sneak preview inside.

The ground floor includes an expansive womenswear section and an M&S Food Hall. Upstairs is a spacious menswear department, more womenswear, a beauty section, children's wear and the impressive café, which overlooks the retail park.

Customer Marion Coatsworth, 81, from Haydock, said: "I think the new store is brilliant, it's got lots more space, it's more like the Gemini on that the one that was in town.

"In fact the one in town had practically nothing in comparison, I used to nip there for stuff but go to Gemini for something special.

"I'll not need to go to Gemini anymore now I'll just come to this one."

Lisa Morgan added: "It's pretty good, it's got lots of clothes and food and the cafe all in one place and alot bigger than the old one.

"It's not as accessible obviously for some people without a car which is a shame but it's a lovely shop."

Mum and daughter Denise and Felicity Dixon added: "It's excellent in here."