THE expanding toy shop chain the Entertainer is to open a branch at Castlepoint this weekend.

Lego’s Batgirl character will be at the Bournemouth shopping centre for the grand opening this Saturday, November 24.

But don’t turn up the following day, as the business’s Christian owner is well-known for not opening on Sundays.

The store opening will take place at 9am, with Lego Batgirl there from 10am-4pm. Children will be able to see balloon modelling and demonstrations and take part in several giveaways and competitions.

Craig Lowe, events coordinator at the Entertainer, said: “We are really looking forward to the Entertainer’s grand opening event in Bournemouth. It’ll be great for the children to meet some of their favourite life-sized characters and have their picture taken.”

The shop is in the unit previously occupied by Thorntons Cafe, which closed in January. It covers 2,716sqft and has created 12 jobs.

The Entertainer has 153 stores in the UK and has been expanding rapidly in the same year Toys R Us went out of business. It is expected to have 200 shops by the end of 2019.

It saw profits rise 38 per cent in the year to January 2018, on the back of a 7.4 per cent rise in sales.

It was founded in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, in 1981 by Gary and Catherine Grant, who said their mission was to make it the best-loved toy shop.

It now has a website offering a 30-minute click and collect service and attracting 23million web visits a year.

The company donates 10 per cent of its pre-tax profit to charity and encourages staff to take part in payroll giving.

It also runs a Pennies scheme, which allows customers to donate a few pence to charity when playing by card, generating £12,000 for children’s hospitals each week.

Gary Grant is a born-again Christian who once told how some staff joined him in praying for Woolworths when the high street giant was in trouble a decade ago.

He will not open stores on Sundays and refused to stock Harry Potter merchandise for fear it encouraged children to play with “darkness”.

The business – which employs 1,442 staff in shops and 228 at head office – is the 22nd best company in the south west to work for, according to Best Companies employee engagement questionnaire recently.

Its score increased on the back of initiatives such as food vans delivering to the office and a Lunch Box staff room to encourage employees to spend more time together, as well as health screening courses to support staff with handling pressure.

Gary Grant said: “It’s hugely important for us that our employees enjoy working for the Entertainer which is why we continually review how we can improve their experience by responding to feedback and introducing new initiatives where possible.”