The mayoress will be joined by the world-famous Percy Pig and an in-store DJ at the official opening of Stevenage’s new M&S this week.

Sandra Barr will join Percy to celebrate the opening on Thursday (April 28).

The store is located at the Roaring Meg Retail Park, just off the A602.

In-store features, such as a 174-seat M&S Café and an opticians service, will be included in the 75,000 sq ft shop.

%image(15611175, type="article-full", alt="The M&S bakery at Stevenage")

The 'significant' investment in the local area has also created 300 new jobs.

'Golden tickets' will be handed to the first 200 customers who walk through the shop's doors on Thursday's opening.

These will provide the holders a free bag of Percy Pigs or freshly baked cookies from the new bakery, located within the store.

%image(15611176, type="article-full", alt="The Foodhall at M&S Stevenage will be one of the first in the country to feature a new design")

One customer will also win a £200 M&S voucher.

Dior Hudson, Stevenage M&S's new manager, said: "We can’t wait until later this week when we can welcome customers through our doors!

“It’s been a great few weeks behind the scenes working hard to put things together and we’re excited for everyone to see what the new store has to offer.

%image(15611177, type="article-full", alt="A "sneak preview" of the new M&S Stevenage Foodhall")

"Whether you’re looking for a convenient option for your big family food shop, picking up items for the home, or looking for spring/summer style inspiration in our Clothing & Home department – we’ve got you covered.”