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Super Bowl Meant Super Sales For Retailers

Yesterday’s Super Bowl XLIV match-up between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts added extra zest to TV sales for locally-headquartered dealers Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City and hhgregg.

“It’s been wild,” Cowboy Maloney president Eddie Maloney told TWICE. “The Saints are a big story here.”

Indeed, Cowboy Maloney’s home base in Jackson, Miss., is just up the interstate from New Orleans and is also the town where the Saints come to train.

As a result, TV sales a week out from Super Bowl were “as good as any day in December,” Maloney said. Fans were snapping up both LCD and plasma models, particularly in 40-inch to 46-inch and 52-inch and 55-inch screen sizes, further straining already tight supplies and forcing the company to canvas fellow NATM dealers for inventory.

Sales were also buoyed by free-DVD and Blu-ray Disc bundles, manufacturer-supplied instant rebates, and a 24-month interest-free financing promotion, said Maloney, who counts Saints quarterback Drew Brees as a personal friend, and traveled to Miami to help cheer him on.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis-based hhgregg marked the big game by extending its “Employee Family Discount” program to virtually all product categories.

In TV, sales included a 32-inch Sharp Aquos LCD for $348, a 50-inch LG plasma for $698, and a 46-inch, 120Hz Samsung LED and BD player for $1,600. The chain also offered 12 months of interest-free financing on all TVs $397 and higher, and extended the promotion to 24 months for sets $999 and higher.

“We’re excited for the Colts and are cheering for them in Super Bowl,” a company spokesperson told TWICE.

Elsewhere around the country, big-box chains mounted aggressive TV price and financing promotions in the days leading up to Super Bowl in a flashback to Black Friday.

Last week Walmart spearheaded its “Gametime” sales event with a 37-inch 1080p Sanyo LCD TV for $448, while Target touted a 42-inch 1080p Magnavox LCD for $499. Both discounters also went toe-to-toe on a 55-inch 1080P Vizio, which Walmart sold for one dollar less at $1,298.

The two chains also promoted their new home-installation and setup services, which both start at $99. Walmart outsourced its program to NEW Customer Service Companies, while Target recently tagged Zip Express Installation to handle its customers’ in-home chores (see p. 16).

In addition, Target offered zero-percent financing through next September on TVs 32 inches and larger that were purchased with the company’s private-label credit card.

“We’re making value and convenience our top priority for our guests,” said Mark Schindele, Target’s senior merchandising VP. “With this new financing offer, guests can save big on great name-brand TVs.”

By contrast, Best Buy, the sole national CE specialty big-box chain, extended its no-interest offer out to three years on HDTV, home-theater and home-installation purchases of $999 or higher. The retailer also partnered with Samsung on an LED promotion that bundled eight models with a free BD-P1600 Blu-ra Disc player.

Elsewhere, Sears also entered the sub-$500 fray with a 42-inch Zenith plasma that was on sale last week for $450.