REVEALED: Look inside the new huge Next store at Merry Hill
Keen shoppers flocked to the new Next store at Merry Hill as it opened its doors for the first time.
The store is one of the biggest in the UK and is based in the former Sainsbury's unit which closed in December 2016 after more than 27 years.
Customers arrived to see the shop open for the first time yesterday.
Inside there is a women and menswear sections, a Costa Coffee outlet, a homeware department and a children’s clothes.
The opening forms part of intu Merry Hill’s commitment to invest over £100 million into enhancing the centre.
Shoppers were excited about the new store and one man even showed up at 4am to be the first in line.
Chris Bishop, aged 40, said: "I grew up around here when the shopping centre was first built and I wanted to come and see it.
"I arrived so early that the security guards had to open up the gates for me and I slept in my car.
"I noticed another lady arriving and got in the line, I am excited that I was the first.
"It has changed massively in the area. My friends who still live around here say the old store was really busy and crammed because it was popular but too small. Now there are more options and more quality."
Melanie Pearson, aged 42, from Wollaston, arrived at around 8.15am and were towards the front of the queue.
She said: "I think this will be really good for the area. I regularly shop here and the centre has been starting to look drab and dated because of the shops closing in the past year.
"It is a bit of a face lift for the centre especially because it looks amazing and it is so big."
Rachel Jeffs, 35, from Halesowen, was waiting in line with her family.
She said: "We are going on holiday tomorrow and we simply had to come.
"We have shopped here for years and it is great that this Next store is opening because it is everything I could need under one roof.
"The area has really gone down later but I think this will bring it back to life."
Primark will also open an extended new store at intu Merry Hill this year by expanding into a former BHS.
Meanwhile a planned 180,000 sq ft leisure extension will introduce more restaurants and on-site cinema to intu Merry Hill.
Nick Round, regional managing director at intu, said: “This brilliant new store is a significant investment by Next and a huge vote of confidence for intu Merry Hill’s exciting future as a prime retail and leisure destination.
“Many of the UK’s most popular retailers are opening bigger stores across our portfolio of prime retail destinations where they can showcase their full product range and reach a high proportion of their target customers. We work closely with brands like Next and Primark to build space where they can flourish as part of our creative asset management strategy.