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Harrods offers Swiss gold "off the shelf"

If you're still looking for that perfect stocking filler – and have half a million francs to spare – Harrods department store has gold bars in stock.

The central London retailer announced on Thursday it had joined with Swiss refiner Produits Artistiques Metaux Precieux to offer gold bars weighing 27.5 pounds (12.5kg).

Harrods, established in 1834, is the first London shop to offer gold in-store. The bars are being kept in a miniature vault on the lower ground floor.

The move comes as gold prices have been going through the roof. On Wednesday they hit another record high of $1,072 (SFr1,090) an ounce (28.3g).

Based on Thursday afternoon gold fixing price in New York, a gold bar would cost about $462,440. Customers can buy the gold through Harrods' financial arm Harrods Bank.

"The financial environment has kindled a new demand for physical gold amongst private investors in Britain," said Chris Hall, head of Harrods Gold Bullion. "Up until now, however, London has had no well recognised name serving this market."

Many investors believe it is currently safer to invest in gold than in stocks, property or currencies.

Mehdi Bakhordar, managing director of Produits Artistiques Metaux Precieux, said Harrods was the only location in London where investors could buy a 12.5kg gold bar "off the shelf".

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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