A shopper walks past an actor dressed as Rock and Roll Santa, at the launch of the Christmas shop at Selfridges store in London. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA via AP

London - On a hot summery Thursday in London, Santa Claus turned up 144 days early wearing a studded leather jacket to open the new Christmas shop at department store Selfridges.

Holding a guitar and sporting black sunglasses, Santa was dressed to fit the store's theme of "Selfridges Rocks Christmas".

With London basking in the midst of a heatwave, T-shirts rather than Christmas jumpers seemed more appropriate but Selfridges defended the move to start the Christmas countdown almost five months before December 25.

"We have customers that really demand Christmas during this time of year," Eleanor Gregory from Selfridges told Reuters.

Shoppers queue for the Boxing Day sales at Selfridges in London last year.
Shoppers queue for the Boxing Day sales at Selfridges in London last year. Picture: Mary Turner/Reuters

"So as long as we have customers that are coming to us demanding to shop Christmas this time of year, we will always meet that demand and we're happy to launch our Christmas shop in the middle of summer."

A Ziggy Stardust Christmas tree decoration and an Elvis Presley nutcracker figure were among the rock-themed items on sale.