Column Eight: Pick one up at the sales

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The Independent Online
THE JANUARY sales will offer a new feature. As well as cut-price suits, electrical goods and the standard consumer durables, cut-price houses will be on offer, courtesy of Harrods of Knightsbridge.

Through its estate agency arm Harrods is offering a selection of 'fine residential properties at greatly reduced prices' and Harrods hampers to help stock the new kitchen.

Top deal in the sale is a large maisonette in Cadogan Square that has been reduced in the sale by pounds 60,000 to pounds 385,000. With that comes a case of champagne.

A distinguished house in Chapel Street, Belgravia, with Edward Heath and Michael Heseltine as neighbours, sold in 1988 for pounds 1.1m, then reduced to pounds 795,000 and offered in the sale for pounds 750,000, comes with a case of Krug '83 champagne. This is intended for the housewarming party, says Harrods.

With neighbours like that it could be a rather chilly affair.

A FINE tawny port is being offered discreetly at an advantageous price. Called the 'Auditor's Port' it was ordered in happier times, complete with a special label, by the partners in Coopers & Lybrand. In these recessionary times it is felt to be surplus to requirements. It may be assumed that it is superior to 'Receiver's Port' which may have been ordered by some of Coopers' rivals.

Whatever next? 'Lloyd's Underwriting Members' lack of character Port,' perhaps.

THE ILLUMINATION of Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol in the past has proved as difficult as lighting the domestic Christmas tree. The 4,200 standard 25-watt bulbs have flickered and blinked, and often expired. Now the bridge has been decked out with Existalite's Guidelite system, developed after disasters such as Piper Alpha and aircraft crashes and designed to show people the exit from a smoke-filled space. The new ones should last 20 years and use only a sixth of the power.

RICHARD DALE, media analyst at Smith New Court, suffered an injury playing football against clients the other day. When he came round he found that his surgeon was none other than the man who repaired the redoubtable Gazza. Colleagues, however, discount rumours that following this encounter their man is on the transfer list for millions of pounds to an Italian stockbroker.

HARRY ROCHE, chairman and chief executive of the Guardian group, has just been reappointed for four more years, taking him beyond the normal retirement age. Meanwhile the Guardian's City pages continue to bang on about their favourite corporate governance theme: that the two roles should never be combined, most recently with a lecture to Andrew Buxton, Barclays' chairman-designate, that he should not be chief executive as well.

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