April 02, 2002 01:00 PM

Celine Dion’s new album, “A New Day Has Come,” hits the sales chart this week and the eyes of the music industry are upon it, reports the Los Angeles Times. Not only is it the first CD the pop diva has released in the two years since she announced she was retiring from her career to devote time to starting a family, but “New Day” is also possibly the first title this year that could sell 500,000 copies in its first week in stores, says the paper. So far, 2002 has been lackluster as far as record sales are concerned. “The release schedule has been a little slow to get started this year, but there have been some good signs in the last few weeks and this Dion album is very strong out of the box,” Bob Bell, music buyer for the Wherehouse chain of music stores, told the Times. “It would be optimistic to think it will break the 500,000 mark in the current marketplace, but it has a chance. Anything over 400,000 right now is spectacular.” Dion, who turned 34 last Sunday, is set to promote the album on an upcoming CBS special next week, and industry observers expect rather than selling a stack of CDs all at once — the way pop and rock stars move albums to their younger fan base in one fell swoop — Dion’s “New Day” will continue to sell over the rest of the year, especially come the Christmas holidays. Other anticipated CD blockbusters slated for release this year, reports the Times: Eminem’s new album, due in late May, and Korn’s album, in mid-June.

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