Baseball caps are de rigueur

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The Independent Online
The official Wimbledon merchandise shop is always a big money- winner and this year is proving no exception.

As well as the usual rush on T-shirts and baseball caps, the shop has stocked a new line of Panama hats, obviously hopeful of another heatwave. Another first is a large range of children's clothing, and the new purple and green check sweat-shirt and T-shirt, given an added authenticity by the ball boys' and girls' usage of them.

Naturally there is a full range of rackets, balls, wrist bands and socks to be had, but you don't have to be sporty to find something to spend your money on.

Lipstick-holders, key rings and pendants are all on offer at the jewellery counter, as well as the shop's most expensive item, a nine-carat gold bracelet adorned with various trinkets (racket, sun-visor, tennis shoe, etc. A bargain at only pounds 537.)

According to the manager, Jean Cooke, there is definitely a market for such items. "We get a lot of big spenders. The American and Japanese tourists, in particular, are always good customers."

Over the course of the tournament, over 40,000 visitors will purchase at least one item from the shop, with the average sale around pounds 32. The cheapest items are socks and wrist bands, yours for a fiver, and key rings which start at pounds 6.

Curiously, the biggest-selling item at this most English of shops is an American creation - the baseball cap remains, year in, year out, the shop's No 1 seller. However, if the English summer proves as unreliable as ever, do not rule out big sales of that perennial favourite - the umbrella. At pounds 30, it may yet come into its own.

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