It’s here! Stevenage Debenhams opens as glamour king Julien Macdonald and community hero Jean Robinson cut the ribbon

PUBLISHED: 16:11 24 August 2017

Debenhams store opening: Fashion designer Julien Macdonald officially opens the store with Jean Robinson who has battled cancer and won a makeover by Julien. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Debenhams store opening: Fashion designer Julien Macdonald officially opens the store with Jean Robinson who has battled cancer and won a makeover by Julien. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Archant

Debenhams finally arrived in Stevenage this morning, and shoppers were queueing around the block to be among the first through the doors.

Debenhams store opening: Debenhams staff celebrate the opening of the new store. Picture: Karyn HaddonDebenhams store opening: Debenhams staff celebrate the opening of the new store. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hundreds of people gathered for the 10am grand opening of the Roaring Meg Retail & Leisure Park’s new 80,000-sq-ft flagship store.

Celebrity fashion designer Julien Macdonald cut the ribbon alongside community hero Jean Robinson, 59 – who had received a pampering makeover from Julien after winning a ‘local hero’ competition judged by the store team.

Jean, who lives with breast cancer, had been nominated by her daughter Stephanie Squires – and she was treated to an Estée Lauder-style overhaul from glamour king Julien, rocking her new outfit as she declared the new store open.

Julien said: “Jean is a very special lady and it was a pleasure to open the new Debenhams Stevenage store alongside her.

“She looked absolutely fabulous in her new outfit which we picked out as part of the makeover this morning, and I hope she enjoyed being pampered as she truly deserves it.”

Departments across the two storeys include fashion, home and beauty – and Nando’s, Costa Coffee and Patisserie Valerie were all open as well once the visitors were inside.

Stevenage store manager Gail Chandler said: “It’s fantastic to finally open our doors to the public, having been working behind the scenes for so long.

“It was amazing to see so many members of the local community outside the store this morning – and it was a pleasure to have Jean cut the ribbon alongside Julien. She looked absolutely beautiful.

Debenhams store opening: Customers excited to get into the new store. Picture: Karyn HaddonDebenhams store opening: Customers excited to get into the new store. Picture: Karyn Haddon

“We have a team of 80 customer service superstars working across the fantastic fashion, beauty and home departments in store, and they can’t wait to meet our new customers.”

Phil Huby from Aberdeen Asset Management – which manages the park off Monkswood Way and London Road – said that the opening day had proved a huge success, with a fantastic turnout.

He said: “It was a great honour to have such a well-renowned fashion designer as Julien Macdonald open the flagship store.

“The arrival of the new department store signifies the tremendous continued investment in the park – which has welcomed more employment, a whole new collection of retailers, and a fantastic selection of food and beverage options.”

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