Christmas comes but once a year -- in August

Tue Aug 3, 2010 12:47pm EDT
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By Georgina Cooper

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - It must seem to some that Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year, and for shoppers in one London store that was certainly true this week.

Selfridge's in Oxford Street has opened its Christmas shop, displaying a seasonal array of baubles, festive ornaments, Christmas trees and tinsel -- with more than 140 days to go until December 25,.

Geraldine James, the store's Christmas decorations buyer, made the decision to open six days earlier than last year to cash in on summer tourists wanting festive souvenirs.

"Here we are in the middle of the department and it is absolutely buzzing, so the customers are obviously responding," she told Reuters Television.

"The reason we opened a little bit earlier than last year is because the week we opened last year we were 50 percent up on the previous year, so it's the customer saying to us 'Actually we really like this and yes, we will buy things and yes we will respond'," she said.

Selfridge's will not reveal sales figures, but did say that sales of Christmas decorations last August accounted for five percent of all their Christmas sales.

The upmarket store has 25,000 different lines of Christmas decorations. Its best-selling item is a Union Jack bauble of hand-blown and decorated glass.

London and British-themed baubles were a big attraction for tourists keen to take a memento home to remind themselves of their summer holiday.   Continued...

<p>A customer browses in Selfridges' Christmas shop as it opens for business 145 days ahead of Christmas Day in central London, August 2, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning</p>