More than seventy people were waiting outside the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre's new 99p Store when it opened its doors on Tuesday morning.
There had been some jostling for first place in the queue shortly after 8am. The official opening took place just over an hour later when Aiysha Lalani, daughter of the 99p Store CEO, cut a ribbon. Due to the very large crowd she performed the ceremony from inside the store whilst a security guard held back the eager shoppers.
The main bargain was a six cup tea service for just 99p. Other popular purchases on the first day included a Dundee cake, Danish biscuits and a packet of 36 pens all for 99p each.
Later Father Christmas, billed as "the real Santa", paid a visit to the new store before mounting a specially built dais in the shopping centre's entrance where there was a brief snow shower.
Afterwards mothers and toddlers posed for free photographs. There was also a special letterbox on Tuesday for children to post their wish list to Father Christmas who promised a reply before 25 December.
This is the 99p Store chain's first central London shop. The firm aims to have 120 stores with a turnover of £250 million by 2010.
It opens as Woolworths at the opposite end of the shopping centre starts its 50 per cent off sale prior to a possible closure.