LONDON — The royal wedding brought mixed results to retail, as the London crowds opted for Champagne, Pimm’s-fueled celebrations and outdoor pursuits rather than shopping on Friday. But as soon as the celebrations were over, the shoppers and tourists came out in force.
“Friday was mixed, with tourists watching the wedding and celebrating,” said Jace Tyrell, communications director of the New West End Company, which represents businesses around Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets.
“But weekend sales have risen almost in the double-digits compared with last year from the influx of tourists. Between last Easter weekend and this one, we’re looking at a very good April.”
Stores including Selfridges, Jack Wills, and Burberry all saw a rise in footfall from the festivities.
“Pre-wedding day, our food hall saw some of our highest store traffic with sales to match in convenience, fresh, party food and cakes as well as fine wine, Champagne and spirits,” said Meave Wall, the store’s director.
“Throughout the weekend, fashion and accessories, including shoes, performed well and royal wedding memorabilia continued to sell through even post-wedding as customers were keen to secure a memento of this historic day,” she added.
Indeed, the tourist shops in town were stripped bare of mugs, t-shirts, and tea towels — the British name for a dishcloth. “We ran out of them and can’t get them anywhere now,” said one store owner in central London.
“The tourists come in to buy them as a cheap gift for friends back home, but the English all come in saying they need them to mop up the champagne at their parties,” he added. Jack Wills, the British brand that’s a favorite among posh college-aged students — more youthful versions of the royal couple — said sales in the runup to the wedding had been fantastic.
“Tourism was certainly a contributing factor, but the media interest surrounding the Jack Wills set — because of the wedding — definitely helped spur sales,” said a company spokesperson.
Burberry staff said they were busy all week begfore the wedding. One staffer noted that British First Lady Samantha Cameron’s silk teal shift dress was already making waves, with a customer coming in shortly after the wedding to purchase “The Sam Cam dress.”
The future — for bridal manufacturers — looks bright. The Sunday Times of London reported that knockoffs of the dress wre already being produced at the Jinyi Wedding Dress Company in southern China for a British bridal shop near London.