Leading luxury department store chain Selfridges has banned all fur goods from its shops.

The chain - one of few department stores still selling fur - sent an e-mail to animal rights groups announcing its decision after an onslaught of demonstrations and campaigning by groups such as The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade.

Selfridges stated in the e-mail that it had "reviewed its policy on fur and will no longer be selling any fur products".

It continued: "This will come into force with immediate effect. The policy revision was made after customer feedback and a decline in demand for fur- related products."

Although the business shut its specialist fur section back in 1990, it continued to sell goods such as rabbit fur-trimmed clothing in its stores.

A number of other retailers including high-fashion chains Mango and Zara and outdoor specialty retailer Snow and Rock have committed to stop selling fur during the past year.

Upmarket clothing chain Joseph, which has subsidiaries within Selfridges, is a current target for anti-rights protesters.

Campaigners have rubbished designers' arguments that animals are slaughtered beforehand for meat, claiming that rabbits reared for fur are kept alive longer than those used for meat, and are skinned alive.