CROWDS of eager shoppers gathered outside the former Woolworths premises in Chard this morning for the opening of budget fashion chain Store Twenty One.

Town Mayor Jill Shortland welcomed hordes of bargain hunters as she cut the ribbon to declare the store officially open.

Store Twenty One, the sister company of low-cost retailer QS, confirmed it was coming to the town in October following months of speculation over the future of the Fore Street building.

An additional nine part-time jobs were created in the move, which has seen trade return to the site almost a year after Woolies went into administration.

Cllr Shortland said the firm’s arrival was further proof that the town is on the up.

She said: “This is brilliant news for Chard.

“It’s given us nine more jobs and a really good clothing store, which is what we’ve wanted for a long time.”

Store manager Susan Day added: “The company has invested a lot of money into the town and we hope the public will support us.

“Chard is looking much better and the reaction we’ve had so far has been positive.

“It’s a town coming back to life.”