Harrods is launching its winter sale a full week before Christmas “in response to ongoing trading realities”, it has said.

The Knightsbridge-based department store is launching its sale on Friday December 17 – well ahead of the traditional Boxing Day event.

However the sale will run throughout the festive season and into early 2021, with further reductions introduced on Boxing Day, the retailer said.

The move by Harrods comes amid a surge in booking cancellations for pubs and restaurants as the rapid rise of the Omicron variant sweeps the country.

Consumer confidence has been knocked by new restrictions and increasing health warnings.

Harrods said the wellbeing of customers and colleagues remained its “top priority” and “the highest standards of safety measures will be in place around the store”.

Harrods managing director Michael Ward said: “As we enter this important moment in the trading calendar, we are delighted to give our customers the festive treat of the Harrods winter sale to enjoy wherever they are, be that at our iconic Knightsbridge store, online or through our remote shopping services.

“Harrods has never been afraid of adapting to suit the changing needs of our customers, and we hope that bringing our sale forwards will give our clients all over the world an opportunity to enjoy the magic of Harrods at Christmas for longer.”