SHOPPERS were queuing down the street for the opening day of sales at Newport’s oldest department store.

Wildings is set to close its doors on December 21, and the closing down sale begun this morning.

Some shoppers queued up for more than an hour as they looked to secure a bargain.

Managing director Peter James said: “The tide is against us now. This is the beginning of the end. We close our doors in December but before then we have to clear half a million pounds worth of stock.

“There’s plenty of bargains in store and queues forming outside.”

Mr James said the reaction that they had receive was overwhelmingly positive since hearing that the store would close.

He said: “People have been very kind to us and told us we are going to be missed. It’s a store that has spanned the generations. It is a Newport business, run by Newport people.

“It’s an emotional time but it’s been so busy preparing for the closing down sale that we’ve all been a bit distracted.”

Shoppers were quick to pay tribute to the store as they queued for the opening of the sales.

“I haven’t been to any other shop,” said Pat Fitzgerald, who has been shopping at Wildings for the last 60 years. “When you go to other places the quality is just not there.”

Mary White, who had been queuing since 9am, said: “I’ve been coming here for 30 years. What I like about this shop is it is a quality shop. Everything you get in here is quality. It’s the best shop in Newport.”

Hilda Friswell and Kathy Pole, both from Newport, said: “It’s the only place we shop. It’s been going so long now. I used to come here as a child. It’s a sad day for Newport when it closes.

“Especially when you are after a special gift, you come here because everywhere else is all the same. Here it is special.”

Thelma Tobin, from Bassaleg, and Sharon Lunbard from Caerleon were looking for crystal vases and some wine and champagne glasses

They said: “We are absolutely gutted. It’s been here all these years. If you really wanted anything this is where you would come for anything special.”

Jill Prosser from Risca and Barbara Mitchell from Caerleon said that they were disappointed by the shop's closure.

"Its really sad," said Mrs Prosser. "I moved down Birmingham in the sixties and have shopped here since. Everything is going now."

Mrs Mitchell added: "This is the first time I’ve been in to Newport in 10 years. There’s nothing here, so there’s no-one coming here to shop anymore."

Val Whitcombe said: “It’s very sad. We have been shopping here for about 40 to 50 years. I used to come here with my mum.

“We are just having a look really. It’s nice to have a little look around and stop and have a coffee.”

“They used to have the best displays at Christmas,” added Emily Stanaway.

Mary Williams, from Newport, said: “My favourite memory of the store is the Christmas windows. Everyone used to stop and stare at the windows. It will be a loss to the town.”