POLL: Shoppers flock to new stores

There were scenes similar to a Boxing Day sale in Warrawong yesterday when crowds gathered at Westfield for the opening of two major retailers at the centre.

Aldi was the first to open at 8am, welcoming more than 300 people who had been waiting outside for their opportunity to shop at the first of the supermarket chain's Illawarra stores to be located inside a shopping centre.

An hour later a similar crowd had gathered outside the new Target and patiently waited for a few short speeches and a quick ribbon cutting ceremony for their chance to check out the new shop.

Westfield marketing director John Batistich made particular mention of the Macedonian, Italian and Portuguese communities and gave a greeting in each language to recognise their loyalty.

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"This shopping centre was built in 1957 and Westfield acquired it in 1985. Today we launch ... two fantastic global retailers to complement other retailers like Coles, Big W, Dick Smith and Hoyts," he said.

"We are thrilled with this roll-up. In the next few weeks we will have a number of exciting things at Westfield Warrawong.

"We have Samantha Jade from the X Factor here on December 7 and we have the St George Illawarra Dragons here in the next couple of weeks."

Those present noted the Rebel Sport store sign next to Target.

"Rebel will open early next year," Mr Batistich said.

He also said that the giant chess set which was particularly popular with Macedonian men would remain.

The new Target covers 4600 square metres and is the second to open in the Illawarra region.

Target district manager Isabelle Brown said it had been quite some time since the last one opened in Shellharbour in 1998.

"We have wanted to be in Wollongong for a long long time so we are really excited to be here," she said. "The store has created just over 100 jobs and that is exciting in itself."

The new Aldi store is located on level one at the former Woolworths site.

Westfield Warrawong centre manager Paul Stonebridge said it was a great time to open the new stores and he was pleased to see so many people so eager to take a look.

Westfield Warrawong now boasts 110 retailers.

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