Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christmas in July as Stores Cash in on 'Ramadan Rush'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christmas in July as Stores Cash in on 'Ramadan Rush'

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Prynn and Miranda Bryant

A "RAMADAN rush" was held responsible today for the earliest start to Christmas in London's great department stores.

Both Selfridges and Harrods launched their Christmas shops in July for the first time -- a full 149 days before the big day.

Selfridges said many tourists from the Middle East had asked to buy Christmas decorations before going home for the Muslim month of fasting, starting on Monday.

Although Christmas is not officially celebrated by Muslims, many decorate their homes.

"There are also lots of British visitors in London who want to do a bit of Christmas shopping," said a Selfridges spokeswoman. "I'm sure there will come a time when it will be open all year round." Last year Selfridges' Christmas shop opened on August 8 and recorded double sales in its first week, with 2,000 baubles sold. This year the theme is "white" -- and white Christmas trees are expected to rival traditional green for the first time. …

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