DUDLEY South MP Mike Wood has given the new mega Next store at intu Merry Hill a big thumbs up.

The Conservative MP was among the first people to visit the brand new store after it opened its doors to shoppers at 10am this morning (Tuesday August 14).

The new 75,680 sq ft store, one of Next’s biggest in the UK, incorporates Lipsy, a full homeware department, one of Next’s largest collections of women’s men’s and childrenswear - plus a 100-plus seat Costa coffee.

Stourbridge News:

The first 25 customers through the doors this morning were handed golden envelopes containing a NEXT gift voucher ranging from £5 to £100.

Mr Wood said: "The opening of this huge new NEXT store in Merry Hill is a huge vote of confidence from the company in the local area.

"The media has been full of gloom and doom about the retail industry lately, therefore it's excellent to see NEXT bucking the trend.

"We also have many more outlets opening in Merry Hill soon, including the hugely anticipated new Primark store, which like NEXT, will create many more jobs for local people here in the Black Country."

Stourbridge News:

Nick Round, regional managing director at intu, and Ellis Quinn, Next regional manager for the Midlands, ‘cut the ribbon’ outside the new store. Pic by Shaun Fellows / Shine Pix

Nick Round, regional managing director at intu, said the opening of the new Next outlet on the former Sainsbury's store site represents "a significant investment" by the fashion chain and "a huge vote of confidence for intu Merry Hill’s exciting future as a prime retail and leisure destination".

Primark will be the next big name to open an extended store at the mall later this year. The budget fashion chain is taking on the old BHS unit to create a brand new store with 70 per cent extra floor space.

Plans for a 180,000 sq ft leisure extension to introduce more restaurants and an on-site cinema to Merry Hill are also part of a £100million transformation programme for the shopping centre announced by intu.

Have you visited the new store already? What do you think of it? Have your say below or Tweet us @StourbridgeNews.