Eager customers queue from 1.30am to be first through the doors of Northampton's new The Range superstore

Hundreds of eager residents queued and tussled to be the first inside a new Northampton home store this morning.

The launch of Northampton's first The Range store drew hundreds of shoppers for the ribbon cutting at 9am in St James Retail Park today.

First in line was Laura, 29, who waited since 1.30am to make sure she was front of the queue.

“It was freezing at times,” Laura said. “I’m doing it for a bet. If I’m first in the store my friend will pay for the rest of our holiday.”

Laura was the first to make it through the doors, and won a set of suitcases for her troubles.

But when the doors finally opened, a scuffle broke out as hundreds of eager shoppers tried to get inside and explore - and took issue when some people “jumped the queue”.

One woman said she had been in line since 7am and thought it was “disgusting” that people were trying to push ahead.

The first 50 into the store were given a free arts and crafts pack and a chance to win a Regatta fleece.

Store manager Carl Newham said: “It’s been a absolutely brilliant. What a tremendous response we’ve had from Northampton. There have been hundreds of customers queueing around the block to get in today.

“You couldn't wish for a better reception, with our first customer here at 1.30am.

"It's going to be a great store that will be a great benefit to the retail park."

The new two-storey home, leisure and garden retailer has created 80 jobs in Northampton. It is also home to a Costa coffee and an Iceland supermarket.

The ribbon was cut by borough council leader, Councillor Jonathan Nunn, who addressed staff inside the store ahead of the doors opening.

He said: "I can't believe how much stuff you have inside at the launch of this store on a beautiful Northampton day.

"I want to welcome you all to Northampton and thank you for coming to our town. I hope you have a wonderful time and wish you every success."

Customers can also enjoy free demonstrations and activities to keep the kids entertained throughout the weekend. These include face-painting by Snazaroo on Saturday (April 13) between 11am and 4pm, as well as DO Crafts on Saturday between 10am – 4pm.