Harrods department store sets $3,473 minimum spend to visit its Santa Claus

In a photo taken on Dec 24,2018, a child embraces Santa Claus during a mall photo session.
In a photo taken on Dec 24,2018, a child embraces Santa Claus during a mall photo session.PHOTO: ST FILE

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Time with Santa Claus does not come cheap this year after Harrods limited visits to its Swarovski crystal-encrusted Christmas grotto to families who have spent thousands of pounds in the London department store.

Families had to spend at least 2,000 pounds (S$3,473) in order to be eligible for 10 minutes with Santa under the Harrods Rewards membership plan, the Guardian reported last Friday (Nov 8).

The 20-pound (S$35)-per-child tickets for visits starting Nov 15 have sold out.

"Unfortunately, we simply cannot meet the demand for places," a spokesman for Harrods told The Guardian.

The Knightsbridge store also bowed to pressure from some customers and offered the chance to win one of free 160 tickets to the Grotto. The complimentary slots make up for less than 4 per cent of places.

The 170-year-old store, which is owned by the state of Qatar, will collect at least 84,800 pounds from the Christmas grotto.