STAFF have been working flat out over the past four days to get a new fashion shop in York city centre ready to open today (Saturday).

Andrea Richardson, who has been organising the opening of Utopia in Spurriergate, said yesterday that she hoped it would be ready to open by 11am this morning.

She said she had been working from 8.30am to 8pm daily since Tuesday to get the store ready, with an electrician working until midnight and a shop-fitter until 2am.

Andrea said the first 50 customers to make a purchase today would receive a goodie bag which would include a fashion accessory.

She added that a saxophonist called Amber Sax would be playing there today to mark the opening of the store, which will sell mid-price, mid-age-range’ fashions from the UK and France.

Utopia is opening in the former Morrisons and My Local convenience stores between H&M and Lambretta.

The premises have lain mostly empty, other than brief spells selling items in the run-up to Christmas, since the convenience stores closed down.

A short walk along Spurriergate from the shop, the street turns into Coney Street, York’s premier shopping street, where shop closures have caused growing concerns in recent years.

Almost a dozen former shops were standing empty at the street’s lowest point, but a recent mini-revival has seen several re-open, and plans have emerged for the former BHS department store to re-open as USC, Sports, and Evans Cycles, selling fashion clothing, sportswear and cycles.

However, the Dorothy Perkins and Burtons store is still set to shut as part of a CVA for troubled parent company Arcadia.