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Hatherleigh mum is first in the queue as Exeter’s John Lewis opens

By e_glanfield  |  Posted: October 12, 2012

  • Pauline Roberts, left, and granddaughter Jemma Gill were the first people to enter Exeter's John Lewis when it opened today

  • Pauline Roberts, left, and granddaughter Jemma Gill were the first people to enter Exeter's John Lewis when it opened today

  • John Lewis on the morning of its official opening

  • John Lewis opens in Exeter

  • Pauline Roberts, left, and granddaughter Jemma Gill were the first people to enter Exeter's John Lewis when it opened today

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  • Official opening of Exeter's John Lewis03

  • Official opening of Exeter's John Lewis04

  • Official opening of Exeter's John Lewis05

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  • Official opening of Exeter's John Lewis07

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  • Official opening of Exeter's John Lewis09

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  • Official opening of Exeter's John Lewis11

  • Official opening of Exeter's John Lewis12

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A mum and son from Hatherleigh were first in the queue as shoppers waited outside John Lewis in Exeter this morning ahead of its grand opening.

Jemma Gill, 31, and her son Henry, 18 months, woke up at 6am to travel to Exeter city centre for the official opening of Devon and Cornwall’s first John Lewis store.

They were joined by Jemma’s grandmother, Pauline Roberts, 76 from Bude.

Around 200 people stormed the entrance as the five-floor superstore store was officially opened at 9am.

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Jemma, Pauline and Henry were the first people to enter the store when the ribbon was cut and the doors opened.

She said: "I didn't think we would get here first but we’re happy we are.

"We woke up at 6am to come down here to do some Christmas shopping.

“We really like John Lewis and we go to Bristol sometimes to shop in it so it’s wonderful there’s now one closer.

“It’s another excuse to go shopping!”

She described John Lewis as “a one-stop shop” and said it offered a good range of brands, but said she thought the queues would’ve been bigger ahead of the opening.

She said: “We thought there were gonna be much bigger queues. The queue was much larger when my husband waited for his new iPhone outside Apple the other day!"

Pauline said she felt it was a great new addition to the city, and to the region.

She said: “We think it will do great things for Exeter and make it more of a desirable area. It’s been so long coming and it’s wonderful that it’s finally opened.”

The store will offer everything from clothing and accessories, to electronic goods and home furnishings.

As well as over 65,000 square feet of selling space spread over five floors, there will also be a café and outdoor seating area.

Managing director for John Lewis, Andy Street, said the intention of the first day of Exeter’s John Lewis was for shoppers to have a “truly memorable John Lewis experience.”

During the official speeches given to members of staff before the grand opening, Mr Street said: “It is a special day for John Lewis as a company, for Exeter and for all the people starting their new jobs.

“It is a beautiful shop we’ve given birth to today.”

Exeter-based Midas, which undertook both the construction work and retail-fit out, confirmed that its contracts for the store were worth around £25 million.

The opening hours for Exeter’s John Lewis are:

Monday - 9am until 7pm

Tuesday - 9am until 7pm

Wednesday - 9am until 7pm

Thursday - 9am until 8pm,

Friday - 9am until 7pm

Saturday - 9am until 7pm

Sunday - 11am until 5pm

PHOTOS: A bumper photo gallery of pics from today’s opening has just been added! Click here to view the first photos from Exeter’s John Lewis.

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