Chaos descends on Chatteris as shoppers bulk buy at Jack’s
- Credit: HARRY RUTTER
Shoppers with trolleys overflowing, queues snaking around the aisles and eager customers waiting outside at 3am was the scene at Jack’s in Chatteris today.
Hundreds waited in the rain for the official opening of the first of Tesco’s budget chain stores in the UK, which boasts locally-sourced produce and 2,800 items.
Cars were ditched on grass verges as bargain hunters rushed to the entrance, where upon walking into the 12,000 sq ft shop, they were greeted with 20p donuts and 50p pizza.
Bags, balloons, cakes - and even a snack van adorned with the blue Jack’s logo - took over the site, which showed a stark contrast to that of the empty building that had stood their in recent years.
“The world has gone mad – I’m sticking to Aldi!” was the outburst from one shopper as he left.
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But others tended to disagree, saying they were pleased with the value for money.
Terry Kingman, whose trolley consisted of bread, vegetables and toilet rolls, said: “I’ve just bought my weekly shop and I will be coming back because I think it’s better than anywhere else.
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“I reckon the main Tesco store will lose out because the people of Chatteris will come here now.”
Beverley Bland said: “It was nice inside, I’ve got cheap Christmas presents and I would rather come here than Aldi.”
Ironically, the Aldi supermarket in Bridge Street - less than two minutes down the road - still had a full car park this afternoon.
Unimpressed shoppers Jacqueline Miller and Lorraine Martin said they would stick to where they know best.
Jacqueline said: “They [Jack’s] had separated the garlic’s out in there for 20p each when you can lots together for 40p at Lidl.”
Lorraine added: “I only have a budget of £80 a week and from looking in there I can get more from Tesco that would be cheaper, so I will go where it’s cheaper.”
The official launch of Jack’s saw the world’s media descend on Chatteris on Wednesday.
The first of its kind in the UK, it is set to set to rival the likes of Aldi and Lidl, with chief executive Dave Lewis hailing Jack’s as being the “cheapest in Britain”.
It was reported in July that Tesco was close to launching the chain of discount stores after Jack Cohen, who founded a business in 1919 that became Tesco.