The world's most over-the-top department store has taken bling to a new level. Beginning today, shoppers at Harrods, the London emporium owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed al-Fayed, can buy gold bars and coins over the counter. The store has teamed with a Swiss bank to arrange for customers to purchase the precious metal, now at $1,072 an ounce, "off the shelf."
"The financial environment has kindled a new demand for physical gold among private investors," said a Harrods exec. "For many people this is a new and unfamiliar asset class that demands absolute trust. Until now, London has had no well-recognized name serving this market."