Vending machines that sell gold!…and M&M Shops!

July 4, 2011

I’m not referring to Gold Bars as in the chocolate biscuit, no, the UK’s first 24crt gold selling ATM machine opened up in Westfield earlier this week.

The company behind the gold bar vending machines have plans to install 50 across Britain over the next few years, thus allowing your everyday shopper to invest in the precious metal as a future investment.

The vending machine, called Gold to Go ATM, saw its first customer after 40 minutes of opening. Michael McCleary, a businessman from Croydon became the first person in Britain to by a nugget from one of the machines. He paid £47 in cash for a 1g “bar” of gold.

The piece of gold he purchased was in actual fact smaller and thinner than a mobile phone SIM card, but came in a presentation box.

But the purchase wasn’t for it’s aesthetics, Mr McCleary is aware of the growing interest in gold and feels at £47 for 1g, he’s made a sensible investment: “I am confident it will hold its value. You’ve got to be a mad man not to have realised what’s happening in the market. People in Egypt are going to the bank, taking out their money and converting it into gold.”

Thomas Geissler, the chief executive of Ex Oriente Lux, the company behind the Gold to Go ATM, has promised investors that the surge in gold prices has a long way to go.

Mr Geissler insists the price of gold will continue to surge as it has done remarkably so over the last decade, climbing from $270 an ounce to just over $1,500. He explained: “It has not even started. The buying power of the smart money has moved into gold, but we didn’t see the normal consumer buying gold. We have yet to hit the record price from the 1980s”.

However, at ATS Bullion, a long standing gold shop on The Strand in London, charges £40 for 1g compared with the machine’s £47, similarly ATS charge £115 for a one-tenth ounce Kurgerrand coin, whilst Gold to Go are charging £121.

Sandra Conway, the managing director at ATS, said: “Anything that promotes gold has got to be good, but I think this is mainly going to attract novelty buyers, not serious investors.”

Whilst this may be the case, it will still provide some investment as well as novelty value, which make it a nice gift. After all, a 1g piece of gold is a bit more interesting than a bunch of flowers and as Mr Geissler puts it: “would last for 4,000 years longer”.


In other news…

M&M, the US chocolate brand worth around £1.7bn, will formally open its first shop outside the States in London’s Leicester Square.

Like other stores, the M&M shop becomes the latest piece of “reatailtainment” where leading brands use their flagship store as tourist attractions as well as shops.

The M&M store will sell everything from sweets, clothing, bedding, jewellery and glassware. As well as featuring some interesting attractions such as; a chocolate wall, a 1963 double-decker bus and a custom-made Union flag, made entirely out of M&M’s.

The M&M store becomes the most recent store that aims to put the smile back on the face of consumers, during