Take That's 'Circus' sets U.K. sales mark

Album moves 432,000 copies in first week

LONDON -- U.K. pop act Take That has claimed the record for Britain's fastest-selling album of 2008, with 432,000 copies of its album "The Circus" (Polydor/Universal) bought during its first week.

According to chart compiler the Official Charts Co. (OCC), that is the third-highest first-week total in U.K. chart history, behind Oasis' 1997 release "Be Here Now" with 663,000 copies and Coldplay's 2005 release "X&Y" with 464,000.

Take That's total was achieved despite the chaos that has enveloped U.K. entertainment retail after wholesaler EUK and retail chain Woolworths entered administration (roughly equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.) on Nov. 26.

"Circus" entered at No. 1 on the OCC chart Sunday. It is Take That's fifth studio album and contains the single "Greatest Day," which gave the band its 11th No. 1, a tally beaten only by the Beatles (17) and Irish boy band Westlife (14). It is the follow-up to Take That's 2006 album "Beautiful World" (Polydor/Universal), the band's biggest seller to date in the U.K. with sales of 2.5 million, according to the OCC.

Universal Music U.K. chairman David Joseph called "Circus" a "coming-of-age record for Take That, an album which deserves to put the country's best-loved band in the history books."

Said OCC managing director Martin Talbot: "Given the challenging retail environment, this is an amazing performance by Take That. To have achieved this a full 16 years after their debut album is nothing short of astonishing. It underlines their growing popularity at a point in their career when many acts are on the wane."

On Sunday, national commercial channel ITV1 aired "Take That Come to Town," a one-hour primetime special featuring the band performing much of the album live.