Take That album in Xmas No 1 battle
Take That's latest album has been tipped for Christmas number one as it went on sale, after becoming the biggest pre-order release of the year.
Progress, the band's first album since reuniting with Robbie Williams, was pre-ordered by thousands before going on sale to the public, making it the most in-demand Take That album of all time.
Bookies say the group are heading straight for the top after a sensational live performance on the X Factor results show on Sunday night.
Ladbrokes have labelled the band "unstoppable", slashing the odds for the album reaching Christmas number one to 2/5. Odds for Take That's latest single, The Flood, climbing to the Christmas top spot were also slashed to 14/1.
The single entered the charts on Sunday night at number two.
This followed news that Progress had received twice as many online orders as any other album released this year. It was also pre-ordered more times than any other Take That album, including the 2008 release The Circus, which was the seventh biggest-selling album on Amazon.co.uk.
Online sales of the album have already surpassed expectations, and figures for the physical copies are likely to increase further.
Julian Monaghan, head of music buying at Amazon.co.uk, said: "Take That and Robbie Williams have enjoyed significant chart success over recent years but the demand for this first album with Robbie back in the fold is higher than anything that either of them have achieved before."
HMV - which opened its 275 stores early today to meet demand - estimated that as many as 150,000 copies of the album could be sold across the UK and Ireland on Monday. And it predicted that the eagerly anticipated release could reach the half a million sales mark by the end of the week.