A weak US dollar has led to gold prices reaching a record high
Luxury London department store Harrods has started selling gold bars worth more than £250,000 "off the shelf".
While the recession has hit many, Harrods said it hopes to cater for a rising demand among wealthy investors.
The Knightsbridge store claims to be London's first "well-recognised name" to sell gold over the counter.
Harrods would not reveal the price of its 12.5kg (27.5lb) gold bars, but at current market rates they would sell for around £285,000.
Chris Hall, head of Harrods Gold Bullion, said the current financial environment had "kindled a new demand" for gold among private investors.
He said: "For many people, this is a new and unfamiliar asset class that demands absolute trust."
Harrods has teamed up with Swiss refiner Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux (PAMP) to offer a range of gold, which also includes investment coins, at the Harrods Bank on the store's lower ground floor.
Market values of gold hit a record high of $1,070 (£668) an ounce with investors on Wednesday as people continued to invest in the precious metal as the US dollar remained weak.