Countdown to Christmas is underway

Christmas officially arrived in London yesterday as one retailer ignored the hot weather and got into the festive spirit.

Christmas officially arrived in London yesterday as one retailer ignored the hot weather and got into the festive spirit.

Launching its 15,000sqft `Christmas World', Harrods reminded customers they have only 139 shopping days left before December 25.

A Father Christmas clad in a red safari suit and accompanied by a zebra were drafted in to mark the event.

Bing Crosby's Let It Snow played in the background of the department store's Christmas area.

Harrods said foreign tourists were the main reason it had launched Christmas World in August every year for the last decade. Rival London store Selfridges will open its Christmas shop on Thursday - a fortnight earlier than usual.

Tinsel, Christmas trees, cards and decorations are among the items crammed into the festive area on Harrods' second floor.

A single bauble priced at £329 is one of the most expensive items, while the cheapest bauble costs just 75p.

The store plans to sell luxury crackers priced at £1,000 for a box of eight and even a £15,000 Christmas gift voucher for the person who has everything.

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