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Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 12:24 GMT
Charlotte opens Harrods sale
Mohamed Al Fayed and Charlotte Church at Harrods
Mohamed Al Fayed and Charlotte Church at Harrods
Singing star Charlotte Church joined with opera singer Filippa Giordano to officially open the Harrods sale in London.

The singers arrived at the store in a horse-drawn carriage and were greeted by owner Mohamed Al Fayed.

Miss Giordano treated crowds outside the Knightsbridge store by singing Casta Diva, from Vincenzo Bellini's opera Norma.

She then joined 14-year-old Miss Church to get the sale under way, before Mr Al Fayed took them on a tour of the store.

Afterwards, Ms Church admitted she had a weakness for jewellery and clothes, which had caught her attention.

She had made a New Year's resolution, she said, adding: "I am going to be less cheeky to my parents - although I will undoubtedly break it - and eat healthier food so I have more energy."

Mohamed Al Fayed
Crowning glory: Mohamed Al Fayed tries on a tiara
She added: "I have been looking forward to doing this (opening the sale) for some time since before Christmas, and I am also looking forward to travelling more and seeing places I have not seen before."

Harrods' store managers said bargains at this year's sale included a four carat emerald-cut single stone diamond ring reduced from 180,000 to 90,000.

The store was also offering big reductions on fashion items, including a pair of Jimmy Choo black suede stilettos reduced to 9 from 249.

The men's department was expected to sell 6,000 pairs of socks, 2,000 ties, 1,500 shirts and 1,000 items of underwear.

Sales tradition

Managers said they were confident that this year's sale would be yet another success, with the store drafting in 500 extra staff to cope with demand.

About 250,000 shoppers were expected to visit the store on Saturday, the first weekend of the sale.

The sale is also a tradition for many shoppers.

A group of 15 businessmen meets there every year and stocks up on suits for the year.

One particular customer is known for buying at least 200 identical perfumery items by 0910GMT on the sale's first day.

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See also:

31 Oct 00 | Europe
Fayed's Diana appeal rejected
03 Aug 00 | Scotland
Harrods boss sues over GM error
08 Dec 00 | Wales
Church's ex-manager seeks star
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