The long-awaited M&S Foodhall in Sittingbourne has opened its doors bringing 70 jobs to the area.
Situated at the Sittingbourne Retail Park, in Mill Way, the store sells a wide range of food and drinks from the old Lukehurst Furniture unit, which has been enlarged.
It offers 170 free parking spaces and is open from 8am until 8pm Monday to Saturday and 10am until 4pm on Sunday.
It also boasts a 48-seat cafe, an in-store bakery and a Click and Collect service, allowing customers to have M&S.com orders, including clothing and homeware products, sent there the next day, free of delivery charges.
Plans were put forward in late 2015, with planning permission granted at the end of last year.
Mark Miskin, who has worked with the company for more than five years, is the manager.
He said: “The new store brings a lot of benefits. We have created 70 jobs, it offers specialist products that Sittingbourne doesn’t have and it’s much more convenient for customers as the nearest M&S Foodhall is at Hempstead Valley.”
He added: “When you first walk into the store, you’ve got a nice foyer area near bright flowers and gifts.
“Then you go into the fresh foods section before being led through to the Click and Collect service, the bakery and onto ambient goods.
“The cafe is at the end of the shopping experience at the side of the store. It’s a really nice and easy journey for customers.”
Mr Miskin, who has worked in the retail industry for about 20 years, said the opening could not come at a better time, with Mother’s Day and Easter coming up.
“It’s really good timing,” he said, “and the team and I are really excited to welcome customers.
“I would say 80% of the team live locally, which is great. There was such a lot of interest in the vacancies.
We are all really looking forward to being part of the community as we settle into the town.”
Electronics specialist Maplin is set to move into the former Paul Simon bed store, next door on Saturday, May 13.
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