HUNDREDS of shoppers swarmed to get bargains as TK Maxx opened its doors.

More than 300 people flocked to Pipps Hill Retail Park, in Basildon, from 6am on Thursday.

Doors were finally opened at 9am, with a stampede of shoppers welcomed with a £10 gift card to spend.

Maureen Goldsmith, of Princess Close, Billericay, was the first in. She was presented with a bouquet of flowers and got to cut the ribbon with Basildon mayor Mo Larkin.

Mrs Goldsmith said: “I’m their biggest fan. I got down here at 6.15am because TK Maxx is my addiction. It’s what cigarettes and alcohol are to everyone else.!

“I’m going to be down here all the time because previously I had to travel all the way to Chelmsford and Lakeside.”

Philomena Arthur, of Lee Chapel North, decided at the last minute to queue up while she was on her way to work.

She said: “I always used to shop in the Basildon TK Maxx when they had a store in the Eastgate Centre, but it closed in 2008.

“When I heard they were coming back here, and the store was going to be this big, I was so excited.”

Interest was such, the queuing shoppers took more than 15 minutes to get into the store yesterday.

Customers emerged after their shopping “fix” weighed down with bags of goodies.

Sarah Davidson, 41, from Laindon, brought along her daughter Brooke, 16, before their family holiday to pick up some last-minute buys.

Mrs Davidson said: “I managed to get a pair of dungarees for £2.99 after I used my £10 giftcard. TK Maxx is just fantastic.”

Interior designer Jaynie Flowers, 42, of Mountnessing Road, Billericay, picked up a golden snake, artificial flowers, an ornamental deer and a vase. But she joked: “Now I have no idea what I’m going to do with it all!”