The Military Wives’ single has become the fastest seller for six years and could hit the half-million mark by the end of the week, virtually guaranteeing it will be Christmas number one.
Gareth Malone’s choir sold more in two days than X Factor winners Little Mix sold last week following their victory in the TV talent contest.
The Wives shifted 242,000 copies of their track Wherever You Are up to Monday night, figures showed yesterday.
The Official Charts Company said the sales tally is the biggest since Shayne Ward’s That’s My Goal in 2005, which sold 313,000.
Little Mix were thought to be their only real challenger for the Christmas number one, but the girl group could achieve only 210,000 sales for their single Cannonball last week.
It proved to be the worst first-week sale for an X Factor winner since the show’s first series in 2004.
And the Wives are already giving Little Mix a pummelling, outselling them by a margin of six to one. Cannonball has sold just 38,000 copies so far this week.
The choir was put together by Malone for a BBC2 series, which climaxed with the group performing at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.
X Factor supremo Simon Cowell has already conceded that the Wives will beat Little Mix to the top of the festive chart when it is announced on Christmas Day.
The Military Wives were giving their single, which was championed by Radio 2’s Chris Evans, an even greater push yesterday by launching it with a performance at HMV in Oxford Street.
DJ Evans arrived in a military Jeep to hand out mince pies to the wives after they performed outside the central London store.
He said his listeners gave him no choice but to play the single, adding: “They watched the show and loved it and loved the record. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever been involved in. I’m so pleased for Gareth and for the girls.”
Malone said the song had caught the public imagination because it had been released at “a particular moment”.
He said: “This single has come at a time when we’re thinking about Afghanistan, we’ve been there 10 years and the feeling for the armed services is really positive in the country at the moment.”
He added: “People have been telling me they have been crying every time they hear it, crying in their cars when they go to work, and that makes me really proud and it means they understand what these women’s lives are like, crying every day about their husbands.”