BARONS Quay was brought to life on Thursday as the £80 million ‘anchor’ chain H&M opened its doors.

The long-awaited opening drew hundreds into the town centre, braving the cold and mist to queue from before 9am on October 18 – two hours before the official opening at 11am.

A line of shoppers, left waiting for a new Barons Quay opening since Odeon and Wildwood just before Christmas in 2016, snaked back from the fashion store – located near River Park – to the Odeon.

Dozens of new staff members put on a show for the waiting crowds, performing a flash-mob dance backed by a live in-store DJ and confetti cannons as the clock approached 11am.

Cheshire West and Chester Council cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure Brian Clarke was on hand to assist with the ribbon cutting, and all those in the queue received a 25 per cent discount while goody bags were handed out to the early birds.

The store is located between Asda – which was the first Barons Quay occupant to open its doors in November 2016 – and the new River Park.

Toni Galli, H&M’s country manager for UK and Ireland, said: “H&M are delighted to be opening a new store in Baron Quays, Northwich.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the brand to expand and bring our fantastic fashion offering to new customers at this location.”

H&M is the first of a raft of openings planned at CWAC-owned Barons Quay over the coming months.

The Entertainer toy shop will open next door to Asda in November, while Patisserie Valerie has pushed its opening date back to 2019 when it will be joined by Sports Direct, moving from its existing premises and Northwich Retail Park in Manchester Road.

Recently saved from financial troubles, Patisserie Valerie will open on the corner unit opposite the Marks and Spencer entrance, with Sports Direct joining it in Barons Square in the newest units between Asda and Sainsburys.

The openings will take Barons Quay as a whole past 60 per cent occupancy, with further site tours with potential retailers taking place last Thursday afternoon.