Harrods under fire over Christmas grotto policy
today Nov 14, 2019
This year, the Harrods Swarovski-sponsored Christmas grotto will only open for shoppers who have spent a minimum of £2,000 in the famous Knightsbridge store.
A limited number of families who haven’t spent enough to qualify will also be granted access.
Admission into the Christmas grotto was free when the experience first opened in 1955, however the luxury department store has said this year families must pay £20 per child to enter.
The new policy sparked a furious reaction from consumers who have made visiting the Harrods grotto a family tradition, with one regular visitors accusing the 170-year-old store of ‘behaving like the Grinch who stole Christmas’.
Harrods is expected to make a minimum of £84,800 from operating the Christmas grotto, which will be open for five and a half weeks until Christmas Eve.
A spokeswoman for Harrods said: “Each year, we are overwhelmed by requests for this special experience, which we make every effort to facilitate.
“We care hugely about making a visit to the Grotto as magical as possible, and tickets are extremely limited due to the number of slots we can facilitate in-store. Unfortunately, we simply cannot meet the demand for places.”
As London’s most famous luxury department store, Harrods has become a top attraction for well-heeled tourists. Chinese visitors are thought to be the store’s biggest spenders, with research showing that one in every £5 is spent by tourists from China.
Controlled by Qatar Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund of the Gulf state, Harrods saw pre-tax profits slide 3% to £171.6 million in the year to February as a £64 million refurbishment programme took its toll on the company’s bottom line. Sales increased to £868.5 million from £862.8 million during the same period.
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