Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed has given “two fingers” to any potential bidders following speculation that Gulf-based investors were circling the upmarket department store.

“This is not Marks & Spencer or Sainsbury’s,” he said.

“[Harrods] is a special place that gives people pleasure. There is only one Mecca. People approach us from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar… but I put two fingers up to them all. It is not for sale.”

Harrods said it had assured its 5,000 staff that widespread talk about a possible sale was merely speculation.

Fayed, who has invested £400m restoring Harrods to its former glory, added: “It is great to see people working, creating happiness and creating history. I do not want to just sit and put money in the bank.”