Kate Middleton

Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.

For a startup business, the value of an appearance or mention on a national morning show like "Today" is priceless. The free publicity and exposure a brand is provided can translate into immediate — and substantial — sales gains. Such was the good fortune for Tablevogue, a cross-channel retailer of stylish slipcovers for folding tables commonly used when entertaining (e.g., birthday and holiday parties, business events).

Economists urged "extreme caution" about reading too much into a strong rebound in retail sales last month, as chains were boosted by the hottest April on record, a glut of bank holidays and the Royal Wedding.

The British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton inspired wedding-related memorabilia and promotional products estimated to earn $2.8 billion, according to a U.K. tabloid.

From Prince William champagne to Kiss Me Kate beer, from refrigerators to PEZ dispensers, from comic books to condoms, enterprising marketers are plastering the young couple's image and name on every conceivable type of merchandise.

Royalists are set to splurge 1.7 billion pounds in an unexpected wave of wedding fever. Experts said consumers will shell out an average of 59.21 pounds on mementos and 115.89 pounds each on food and booze — more than had been predicted. The big spenders are under-25s with a third planning to celebrate on April 29.

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