The Rolling Stones rock London with landmark store
Patrick Atack

British rock group the Rolling Stones has opened what's claimed to be a world first – a permanent store selling the band's merchandise. It opened on Wednesday on London's fashionable Carnaby Street – a place lead singer Mick Jagger said used to be a regular spot for The Stones to rehearse and get lunch. 

But while Carnaby Street is in the midst of "swinging Soho," it was eerily quiet without the usual throngs of tourists from every corner of the world filling the streets. Not only is it arguably a bold move to launch a bricks-and-mortar store for a band in the internet age, but Universal Music Group (UMG) and the band decided to do it during a pandemic. 

As the group's latest single even points out: London is like a "Ghost Town" this summer. Jagger acknowledged the slightly odd timing of the launch – on a video call, of course. 

"Why would you open a shop during a pandemic? Well, you know, it's eternal optimism. I mean, yeah, I guess we could have put it off," he said.  

And according to David Boyne, managing director of Bravado (a commercial arm of UMG), footfall is increasing and the company believes the strength of the band and brand will attract fans from around the world. 

"I think for fans and customers to have that visual representation, to have that physical excitement of actually going into a store... I think that's really, really powerful that people can touch and feel product."