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Shoppers queue to be first in at new Lidl store in Whitfield

By Sam Lennon

Dozens of eager customers poured in to the new Lidl store at Whitfield first thing this morning.

The starting signal was given when Cllr Sue Chandler, chairman of Dover District Council, cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony.

The very first two customers were Debbie Smith, 48, and her mother Violet Smith, 69, both of Hobart Crescent, Dover.

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Customers pour in to find the best bargains

Customers pour in to find the best bargains

They had been queuing since 7am braving the wet and windy conditions.

Debbie said: “We wanted to be first. We can already see the store is lovely and the smell of bakery is fantastic.”

First two customers Debbie Smith and mother Violet Smith

First two customers Debbie Smith and mother Violet Smith

Violet said: “I think I will come here regularly. I can see everything is fresh and clean and items are reasonably priced.”

The new supermarket forms part of the German discount chain’s ongoing expansion and regeneration in the UK, which involves the opening of 50 to 60 branches a year.

This store, with a 1,690 square-metre sales area, has created around 40 jobs.

It features an in-store bakery, longer-style tills with dual packing, and customer toilets with a baby-changing table.

The new store opened its doors at 8am

The new store opened its doors at 8am

There are more than 150 car parking spaces, plus separate provision for bicycles and motorbikes.

Cllr Chandler said: “This is a bright and wonderful new store and there are extra jobs for local people, which is always great.”

District council chairman Sue Chandler cut the ribbon

District council chairman Sue Chandler cut the ribbon

With her for the opening was district council leader Keith Morris.

He said: “There is a crowd of people here. In the first 40 minutes the store is already buzzing.

“This gives another alternative in shopping in Dover.”

Council leader Keith Morris and chairman Sue Chandler with staff

Council leader Keith Morris and chairman Sue Chandler with staff

The store has a fully glass-fronted facade to maximise natural daylight entering the building, while sensor-controlled exterior blinds automatically operate to control sun heat.

The electrical lighting system is made up entirely of LED fittings that are more than 50% more energy-efficient than traditional lighting.

It is the second time Dover has hosted a Lidl. There was previously a branch at the former MFI store in the town’s Maison Dieu Road.

More than 5.5 million British shoppers now use Lidl each week – 500,000 more than in 2014.

The supermarket is the fastest growing in the UK, with sales up 15.1% year on year and a market share high of 5.1%.

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