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Meghan Markle gives Oroton a major boost

Petrina Berry
Australian label Oroton received a sales boost after Meghan Markle was seen with one of its bags

Embattled Australian accessories label Oroton has hit headlines for good reasons when Prince Harry's fiancee, Meghan Markle, was spotted with one of its handbags.

The former Suits actress was sporting Oroton's Avalon Stripe Crosboody bag, which retails for $295, during a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting event in London this week.

Oroton, which fell into voluntary administration six months ago, has jumped on the opportunity, splashing photos and video of Ms Markle's entrance to the event across its website.

"As seen on future Royal, Meghan Markle, at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London," the company says on its site.

The bag has sold out and shoppers will have to wait until August before more stock arrives.

This type of support from a celebrity, particularly a future royal, is priceless, says retail academic Gary Mortimer of the Queensland University of Technology's business school.

"Images of Meghan Markle will permeate social media, including Instagram and Facebook, in coming days," Professor Mortimer said.

"The story is being covered by mainstream media and very quickly that particular handbag will be sold out if it hasn't already."

But Prof Mortimer said such strong sales were usually short-lived because consumers were "fickle and are always looking for the next big thing".

Debt-laden Oroton called in administrators in late November after making a $14.3 million annual loss because of consistently weak sales.

It's among a string of luxury retailers to hit financial strife in the past year, including Topshop, Marcs, David Lawrence, Herringbone and Rhodes & Beckett.

The company's stores have continued to operate under administrators and its creditors have backed a $25 million plan to hand control of the company to major shareholder and funds manager Will Vicars.