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.

Harrods

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."

Liberty

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."

Hamleys

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."

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'