The day Sainsbury's returned to Bognor Regis after a 22-year absence

​​There was excitement for shoppers in Bognor Regis 15 years ago when Sainsbury's announced it would be returning to the town.

On its front page of October 30, 2008, the Observer exclusively revealed the national retailer had committed to ending a near 20-year absence from Bognor Regis.

The company had signed up to become involved with the multi-million pound redevelopment of the former Lec Refrigeration site alongside the A29. It explained its intention to build a 55,000sq ft store on part of the Shripney Road location and create hundreds of jobs.

Max Whitehand, regional development executive at Sainsbury’s, said at the time: "We are excited about returning to Bognor and are committed to contributing towards the ongoing regeneration of the area. As well as providing improved choice and quality for Bognor’s shoppers, the new store will generate up to 400 full and part-time jobs for the local community."

It was in April 1990 that Sainsbury’s had left Bognor. The company closed its branch in the Queensway, now The Hatter’s Inn, with the loss of 66 jobs. The company claimed the branch was too small and that its new outlet at Westhampnett made it unnecessary.

But the availability of the southern half of the Lec factory site meant Sainsbury’s was able to turn the clock back and establish a presence in Bognor once again.

Four years later, in November 2012, Sainsbury's invited residents to see what would be on offer in its new store, hosting a special taster day in advance of opening.

The event was held at Riverside Caravan Centre, in Shripney Road, opposite the store, which was nearing completion. Tim Maginnis, new store manager said at the time: "We are very excited to open our doors to local residents and the taster day will allow our customers to get a good idea of what products and ranges will be on offer at the new store."

There were fashion shows of Sainsbury’s clothing ranges, cooking demonstrations and stalls showcasing bakery goods, fresh food and some of the products that on sale over Christmas.

The branch finally opened on November 21, 2012, after years of anticipation.

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