Golden days for Harrods

LUXURY department store Harrods has sold hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of gold bullion since it began offering coins and bars &ldquo;off the shelf&rdquo; a month ago.<br /><br />The Knightsbridge retailer, owned by Mohamed al Fayed, said it had seen a steady flow of sales to high street shoppers but hinted it wanted to stimulate more interest from serious investors.<br /><br />The news came as the spot price of gold slipped slightly to $1,100 (&pound;659) an ounce, down from Monday&rsquo;s record high of $1,111.<br /><br />Harrods has been selling investment grade bars and coins including sovereigns, South African Krugerrands and American Eagles from its lower ground floor since mid-October.<br /><br />Malcolm Maclean, general manager of Harrods Bank, said: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been getting a lot of people buying the smallest gold bar at the lowest value (just over &pound;100), so they&rsquo;re buying it as a present for someone. At the other end of the spectrum we&rsquo;ve had interest from wealthy investors, but inevitably they&rsquo;re going to shop around.&rdquo;<br /><br />Harrods sells a Krugerrand, thegold coin, at a premium of 11 per cent to spot price for orders below &pound;5,000. Maclean said the store was &ldquo;willing to talk on rates&rdquo; for larger deals, an indication it is keen to entice savvier buyers. Krugerrands can be bought from specialist dealers at around five per cent premium.<br /><br />Adrian Ash, head of research at online dealership, said some investors would be willing to pay a premium for the reliability of the Harrods name. &ldquo;This is a sign of how far back gold has come into the mainstream,&rdquo; he added.<br />