January 31, 2008 in Business

Some spend big on TVs, furniture for Super Bowl

John Wilen Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Mike San Miguel, of La Verne, Calif., checks out Super Bowl merchandise Tuesday in the Arizona Highways store at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport before catching a flight.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – Super Bowl Sunday may be the biggest day of the year for football fans, but it’s also a big day for people who sell big-screen TVs, recliners and pizza.

Yes, some fans are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a TV just to watch the game. Jim Ferrero, of Yardley, Pa., has done so twice.

“I actually bought another TV last year specifically for the Super Bowl,” Ferrero said recently at a suburban Philadelphia Best Buy store. “And then this year, I was thinking the same thing: Might as well get another one.”

Ferrero, who dropped $2,200 on a 46-inch Sharp flat screen, is far from alone. While Best Buy’s TV department was far from crowded, a steady stream of customers were wheeling flat-panel TVs to the register.

TV and furniture companies run promotions during the period leading up to the Super Bowl to position their products as big game must-haves. Pizzerias stock up on dough and toppings and require every employee to work Super Bowl Sunday. And beer companies make sure their distributors are well supplied.

“There’s historically been a significant bump (in TV sales) in the week leading up to the Super Bowl,” said Ross Rubin, an analyst at NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y.

Last year, U.S. retailers sold 61 percent more TVs the week before the Super Bowl compared to the previous week, NPD said. Revenue from TV sales jumped 46 percent that week.

“I can’t wait to watch the Super Bowl on it,” said Frank De Rito, of Newtown, Pa., while waiting for Best Buy workers to wheel out his new $2,200 Panasonic 50-inch flat-screen TV.

NPD research shows that holiday TV sales jump because people are responding to sales, or, in industry jargon, “deep discounting.”

When buying for the Super Bowl, however, sports fans acquire TVs for themselves, often with a Super Bowl party in mind. They’re looking for the newest, biggest and best. And price is often no object.

Best Buy targets Super Bowl shoppers with specials such as no interest for two to three years and guaranteed delivery in time for the game. The retailer also gives discounts on audio equipment and DVD players, and offers full home theater packages, including installation.

And once football fans start redesigning their TV viewing experience, they also often decide the old threadbare sofa no longer makes the cut.

At La-Z-Boy Inc., January and February are among the strongest months for sales of recliners and sofas with reclining sections, said Doug Collier, chief marketing officer.

Of course, football maniacs who have procured all the gear typically find they need something to eat and drink while watching the game. Domino’s Pizza sales jump 30 percent on Super Bowl Sunday, said Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications at Domino’s Pizza LLC.

The biggest surprise about Super Bowl Sunday may be that, despite the abundance of game time beer ads, it is not the biggest day of the year for beer sales. Sales of cases of beer during the two weeks preceding the big game rank seventh overall, behind comparable periods preceding Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, according to ACNielsen figures provided by the Beer Institute, a trade group.

© Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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