It could be a record-breaking January sales season, with Harrods taking pounds 16,000 a minute on the first day. Rachel Halliburton joins the crowds

As sales shoppers swarm over stores like a plague of cash-happy locusts, it seems they cannot wait for Christmas to come again. Christmas cards are among the more surprising bargains stripped from this year's display of tempting reductions at Liberty in London.

The seasonal chill has led many, waving credit cards, into coat departments. Those who go to Aquascutum are exchanging pounds 400 to pounds 800 for the pleasure of wearing one of the store's own coats, while in Hobbs the most expensive coat (a mere pounds 239) disappeared with all the others in the sale's first week.

One sales hound, looking for a more exotic way of keeping warm, sniffed out a Chinese Sumak 100 per cent wool hand-knotted rug at Selfridges, reduced from a monumental pounds 1,599 to a humble pounds 399.

At Aquascutum, a morning visit from Roy Hattersley had proved the highlight to a lull in their otherwise very busy sale.

Elsewhere in London, the crowds were evident at Hamleys, Liberty and C&A, and shopkeepers seemed confident of a steady flow of cash into their tills. "I expect this to be a record post-Christmas sale," said Hugh Clark, director of trading policy at the British Retail Consortium.

Not all buyers have obeyed the dictates of the weather. The most unusual purchase at the Pukka Palace sale was of nine solar topis, which went for the bargain price of pounds 20.76 each.

People attracted to warmer climes also homed in on Liberty, where the oriental carpets are bringing in thousands of pounds. Even though no one has gone for the most expensive carpet, at pounds 20,000, one purchaser went for a combined option, spending pounds 12,000 on one carpet and pounds 6,000 on another.

"It's been the sale of 'plastic panic' so far," says Tony Salem, Liberty's group managing director, who also reports that customers are happily tying themselves in knots with a variety of scarves, ranging from pounds 19.50 to pounds 210.

Nowhere is the panic greater than at Harrods, however, where on Wednesday, the first day of the sale, credit cards lost pounds 16,000 a minute to the tills.

One purchaser decided that his answer to the cold weather lay in two bottles of claret, for which he paid the paltry sum of pounds 2,700.


Roxanne Covo, from Brazil

"I've never been to Harrods before. I spent the New Year in Paris first. I was going to spend about pounds 900, but ended up spending pounds 1,000."

Marcus Reoch, from Knightsbridge

"I've spent pounds 80 so far, on trousers and a shirt. I wouldn't mind the Lamborghini on the top floor if I had that kind of money."

Daniella Dyer, from St John's Wood

"I come to lunch here sometimes to wallow in luxury for a minute. I expected to spend pounds 400, but only spent pounds 200 on porcelain and this rabbit."

Deepak and Anita Kripalani, from Canada

Deepak: "I bought a replica of a Rolls-Royce, for pounds 105, for a friend back home, but I'm mainly interested in the crystal, because I'm in glass- making myself. I could spend anything - I've got no particular budget."


Bridget Boyd and Helen Howe, from Georgia

Bridget: "I came to England once before on a theatre trip, but this time I came to the sales. They're wonderful. I want to come back again next year." Helen: "You just want to ship it all home with you."

Zoe Gregory, from Camberley

"I went for a frying pan, and a pestle and mortar. I wanted the York half-goblet. Perhaps I'll come back and get it later."


Stuart Dalgleish, from Southbourne

"My 34-year-old son can't have a real bulldog, so I bought him a toy one for pounds 20. There were a few to choose from, but I couldn't resist the one I ended up with, because he had the fiercest face of them all. I brought some American friends with me, and they got a train set and some metal soldiers."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Day In a Page

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map