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Shoppers flock to Penneys stores across the country

Some 150 people were in the queue at Dublin’s Henry Street store when the doors opened.

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A man carries a Penneys shopping bag in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A man carries a Penneys shopping bag in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A man carries a Penneys shopping bag in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Penneys shoppers queued for more than three hours to grab clothes, shoes and bottles of fake tan as 16 of its stores reopened.

Eager shoppers arrived in their droves to stock up on items some 12 weeks after the store closed its doors to the public.

Some shops were due to open at 10.30am, however as the queues continued to build, gardai advised managers to open earlier at 8.45am.

Some 150 people were in the queue at Dublin’s Henry Street store when the doors were flung open.

I have picked up the most unnecessary things that I don't even need, PJs, summer stuff - absolutely loadsChloe Nolan

Chloe Nolan left her home in Co Carlow at 5.15am and arrived in Dublin at 6.30am.

“I was queuing from around 7am for over an hour before it started moving and everyone was delighted,” she said.

“The queue was OK, I was expecting it to be a lot bigger, it was very well controlled.

“I have picked up the most unnecessary things that I don’t even need, PJs, summer stuff – absolutely loads.

“When I got inside, I was shocked at how everything was so well organised. I felt so safe and it was fine. It felt like things were back to normal.

“My favourite thing I bought today was definitely my PJs. I can’t wait to go home and get into them tonight.”

Dublin shopper and Penneys fan Chantelle Wooperton went to the store with her nieces Ella, 11, and eight-year-old Brooke.

“I got at the shop at 7.30am and wasn’t in the queue that long – for about two hours,” she said.

Lockdown has been hard because the baby is growing so fast and it's been hard to get things for herChantelle Wooperton

“I spent 148 euro and I bought stuff for me, my mother, my sisters and my baby, who is eight months.

“I was looking for pyjamas and underwear and all that. Lockdown has been hard because the baby is growing so fast and it’s been hard to get things for her.

“The shopping experience was great – I had good fun and the people were very helpful. I wasn’t worried coming in and it was all grand.

“No-one was walking on top of me so I was delighted.”

Frontline workers Theresa O’Reilly and Nadjet O’Reilly queued for around 15 minutes.

The mother and daughter, who are cleaners at the Department of Justice, said they were excited to see what they can buy.

“My other daughter has been here since 8am this morning and she’s in there now,” Theresa said.

“We wanted to see what is going on as we have been working through the whole crisis and haven’t had any time off.”

We have worked hard to make sure that clear signage and extra help will be there to guide them through the changes we have made to allow for social distancingPaul Marchant, Primark chief executive

Nadjet added: “We are getting back to reality – we haven’t had a chance to spend any money because we have been working all this time.”

Theresa added: “We are just going to mosey around and see what we can spend. I might pick up some shirts and jeans.”

Sixteen Penneys stores with street access are reopening on Friday with the remaining 20 stores located in shopping centres opening on Monday.

Primark chief executive Paul Marchant said: “While it might take a little longer to get into store, once inside, customers will find all their favourite Penneys products and plenty of choice as usual.

“We have worked hard to make sure that clear signage and extra help will be there to guide them through the changes we have made to allow for social distancing.

“We are also asking customers to respect the measures we have put in place to help ensure shopping at Penneys is an enjoyable, safe experience for everyone.”

Management have hired additional security staff to help customers follow social distancing measures while store layouts have been redesigned to allow for more space between people.

Fitting rooms, customer toilets and beauty concessions have been temporarily closed.

Hand sanitiser stations are at the entrance and on the shop floor, while every second till is closed and Perspex screens have been installed on open tills to protect customers and employees.

PA