MARKS and Spencer has revealed the date its Stockton Heath food hall will open next month.

Shoppers can finally see what the store at The Forge has to offer when the doors are officially opened on December 2 at 10am.

Store manager Diane Bartolo and staff will reveal the new 9,000 square foot shop, which will provide shoppers with more than 5,500 food and drink lines, along with a selection of flowers, cards and gift wrap, to customers.

The retailer acquired the store from Co-op earlier this year and the previous store's 20 employees will join 39 new staff.

Customers can look forward to a 22-seat M&S Coffee to Go facility, which will serve a range of hot and cold drinks and refreshments.

A bakery will also offer a fresh range of speciality breads, pastries and cakes.

And a Shop Your Way service will be available to give customers the choice of ordering from M& online or in-store, with the added benefit of free next day in-store delivery and collection.

Ms Bartolo said: "We are delighted to be opening a M&S food hall in Stockton Heath and I am looking forward to welcoming customers to see all we have to offer.

"M&S food hall Stockton Heath will provide customers with a great new shopping experience, with a wide selection of quality meat, fish and poultry, as well as a 22-seat M&S Coffee to Go and in-store bakery.

"We hope that customers will join us on December 2 to see all of the new and exciting features that we will be bringing to the area."

Traders nearby have voiced their concerns over the move but M&S insists it will do all it can to form a healthy relationship with businesses.

Paul McIntyre, owner of etc and baby etc, on London Road, said he is 'delighted' the food hall is arriving but is again urging bosses to change the current parking situation.

He said: "My only concern is parking - nobody is doing anything about it.

"I imagine they will only do something about it when there is a problem.

"All the traders want an enhancement of parking – I can't see why M&S and the council won't do that and recover the costs over the years."

M&S currently has confirmed it has 'no plans' to change the parking arrangements at the site.

The food hall will be open between 8am and 8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Christmas food orders can be placed until December 15 and collected from the store.