British retailers are admitting their sales estimates for Coldplay's new album were too conservative after the album shifted a staggering 125,000 albums on its first day on sale yesterday.

The band's hugely-anticipated fourth studio set "Viva La Vida" is almost certain to fly past the 250,000 mark in just three days on the racks, and could push for platinum sales - 300,000 units - by the time the Official U.K. Albums Chart is announced on Sunday.

"This rate of sales exceeds even our optimistic forecasts, and shows how massively popular a band Coldplay remain despite having been away for the best part of three years," comments Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for market-leading retailer HMV. Castaldo notes that the album has also been selling "large quantities" from HMV's Web site, both in CD and download formats.

Based on its 125,000 first day sales, says charts compiler the Official U.K. Charts Co., the set is already outselling the rest of the top five biggest selling albums, which have benefited from a full week on sale.

To bring it into line with an international roll-out, the release was moved forward to a Thursday, a full three days after the typical U.K. Monday release day for new albums and singles.

HMV notes that the album has enough steam behind it to threaten for the mantle of biggest release of the year. And based on its initial impact at tills, the sales compare favourably with the band's last album, "X&Y", which sold more than 464,000 copies in the first week of its release in June 2005, and is the second best first-week seller in British chart history. The No. 1 on that chart is Oasis' 1997 album "Be Here Now," which sold more than 695,000 copies in its first week at retail.

The phenomenal interest for "Viva La Vida" will come as a welcome boost for the band's record company, EMI. With a steady stream of top executive departures from around its network of affiliates, the British music major has come under increasing scrutiny from the media as EMI chief Guy Hands wields the axe to complete his vision for the company's structure.

In the United States, the priority release will get a traditional Tuesday (June 17) debut. And, as previously reported, earlier indications are that U.S. consumers will also be in a rush to collect the album.

Coldplay play their first of three free promotional concerts this Monday at the Brixton Academy in London.