Whanganui residents queued with blankets and chairs on Saturday in anticipation of the grand opening of retail store Cotton On.

The in-store DJ, lolly scrabbles, gift vouchers and goodie bags pulled in the crowd, with over 800 transactions on day one alone.

Whanganui's Cotton On assistant manger, Holly Udy, said there would have been more than 1000 people through the doors and majority were local.

And it's all thanks to the chain's national retail manager, Ange Mana-Pupara, who was born and raised in Whanganui and saw the potential to bring the chain to her home town.


Ms Udy said a lot of the push to get the store to Whanganui came from Ange.

"She knew there would be a demand here and it would be a great opportunity to create local jobs for young people," Ms Udy said.

The mega store has three fulltime workers, including Ms Udy and store manager Theresa Webster, and 12 part-time staff.

Ms Udy said they are fully staffed at the moment but there was sure to be more work available in the future.

"The atmosphere has been really great and it is such a fun environment to be working in, I think it will be really popular," she said.

The new store, located on Whanganui's Mainstreet Victoria Ave, is one of 172 Cotton On stores in New Zealand.

The mega store stocks the Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids and Rubi brands.

It will be open seven days - weekdays 9am to 5.30pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 3pm.