MORE than 40 eager Tesco customers queued before 8am yesterday to be the first inside a new Bicester superstore.

The first loyal shoppers were greeted with chocolates, champagne and flowers and hundreds more followed throughout the day.

The new store, off the A41 Oxford Road, replaces the former site in Pingle Drive which closed its doors on Wednesday after 25 years.

Cash clerk Cilla Trail, 68, who worked at the former store for that entire time helped open the new one yesterday.

She said: "Locking up and taking the signs down did bring a bit of a tear to my eye, but it is very exciting with the new store.

"I think Bicester people will be shocked with how big it is, we are very limited with what we have in the town.

"This is something Bicester has been waiting many years for, it is amazing."

Tesco will form part of a 60,000sqm Bicester business park including offices and a hotel.

Store manager Paul Phillips said: "We had about 50 customers waiting outside in the morning and around 100 staff cheered them in.

"It was much busier than I expected, lots of people have said how big, bright and lovely it is – plus the new café which has been busy all morning.

"We are expecting around 30,000 customers a week and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was around 7,000 opening day."

Prior to opening, Oxfordshire County Council highways team removed a free-flow filter lane onto A41/Bicester Services and past Tesco, after fears it would cause accidents for drivers crossing over to turn in Tesco.

Mr Phillips added: "It was a big relief the road layout was finally changed Wednesday night as it was something we had consulted with the highways about."