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Tuesday, 2 January, 2001, 16:46 GMT
Steps rocket in at...No 72
Steps
Steps: Unaware they are near the bottom of the charts
Pop group Steps have hit their lowest ever chart placing after a small number of record stores mistakenly sold their single a week early.

The Way You Make Me Feel, the group's latest single, was due to hit the high street on 1 January, and was issued early to ensure enough stock was available.

But about 980 copies were sold by assistants unaware of the release date, giving the group, which often enjoys the number one spot, an unusually low placing at number 72.

The group's spokesman told BBC News Online: "The singles sold so far are about 1% of expected sales, but it's not a huge bother.

"If the fans have got hold of the single a week early, well good for them."

Steps members with Prince Charles
All smiles: Steps with Prince Charles at the 1999 Party in the Park
He added that the group did not know about the situation as they were on holiday.

"We hope it'll go up," he said. "Prior to this, their lowest chart placing was number 14 for a first-week sale."

If the group reaches number one this week, it will be one of the biggest ever leaps to the top spot.

But Steps are not the only act to have rocketed down the charts.

Their spokesman said two other groups - dance acts Fragma and Rui da Silva also had their singles sold prematurely and had suffered low chart positions.

This may not be the first time such an error has occurred.

In January 1992, The Prodigy's Everybody In The Place was made available prematurely and charted at number 48, before rising to number 10 the following week, on general release, according to dotmusic.com.

See also:

25 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Steps upset by 'racist' claims
16 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Steps raise fans' spirits
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