Finally... Selfridges opens its Christmas store

Selfridges Christmas Shop opening 2014

With just 142 shopping days left until Christmas, Selfridges has done the only wise thing, and launched its Christmas shop. On Tuesday morning it proudly boasted that it was the first department store in the world to launch its festive store - featuring 100,000 Christmas decorations.

It has turned over 700 square feet of floor space to over 300 different crackers, nearly 450 Christmas tree and light styles and over 200 different styles of decorations. Geraldine James, Selfridges Christmas Home and Decorations Buyer said: "Despite the summer weather, we're in full festive mode here at Selfridges. We've been working on this year's Christmas Shop since Christmas last year."

On face value the move seems barmy. However, Selfridges wouldn't do this unless it made commercial sense. The reason for the early launch is that they want to cash in on the tourist market over the summer. James said: "We have so many customers visiting from all over the world and eager to snap up festive souvenirs on their summer holidays, which they can't buy at home. So, we have to make sure we're ready to showcase Christmas decorations they will truly treasure."

This is reflected in the fast that best-sellers are expected to be British designs featuring London themes and the Union Jack, in particular a mouth-blown glass Union Jack bauble made by Czechoslovakian artisans, anticipated to be this year's number one selling item. Within the first hour Selfridges said the top three purchases were the Glitter Union Jack Bauble, Tower Bridge Glass Bauble and Personalised Boxed Bauble.

There are millions of people who will despair at the early arrival of Christmas, but those with long memories will remember that this is something Selfridges does every year - and it is usually joined by Fortnum & Masons and Harrods by the end of the month. Harrods chose to announce its Christmas theme today - which will be 'The Land of Make Believe'.

The supermarkets will also gear up at some point this month too - launching their online festive stores and stocking the very first of the festive specials - like chocolates and biscuits.

The reaction on social media has been a mixture of resigned sarcasm and misery. Actor Stephen Mangan tweeted: "Yes! The long wait is over! Selfridges have FINALLY opened their Christmas store." Actor Mark Dexter (who appeared in Mr Selfridge) commented: "Selfridges has just opened its Christmas store 142 days before Christmas, triggering the slow death of all human joy." And Vanessa Henry, a Shopper Insight Manager at IGD was decidedly unimpressed, saying 'This is utterly depressing!'

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Selfridges First to Start This Years' Christmas Shopping
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