Harrods moves into flourishing gold market

Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:27am EDT
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By Jan Harvey

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - London luxury goods department store Harrods is moving into the precious metals market with the launch of a service to sell investment-grade gold bullion bars and coins to customers.

Malcolm McLean, general manager of Harrods Bank, told Reuters on Thursday that the company saw a gap in the market for a well-known retailer to enter the increasingly high-profile gold market.

"We have been very conscious of the fact that there has been an ever increasing amount of interest in the gold market, and in buying investment gold," he said.

"We became very conscious that there is no well-recognized name out there which the general public can turn to and say, I know that name, I trust it, I want to buy from them."

"That is not to say there are not reputable dealers out there -- we know there are," he said. "But they don't carry the brand that we do."

Since Monday, Harrods has been selling Swiss-sourced investment grade bars and coins including sovereigns, South African Krugerrands and American Eagles, from the Harrods Bank premises on London's upscale Brompton Road.

Harrods would not be drawn on the sales volumes seen by the store so far, but McLean said feedback for the service had been positive.

"We are very much looking to the Harrods customer, and the customers of Harrods bank itself," said McLean. "But we are open to the general public."   Continued...

<p>Shoppers line up outside Harrods before the first day of the sale in London December 27, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>