MIAMI — Super Bowl weekend is always a busy time for supermarkets, as shoppers stock up on food and drinks for the big game. But, when a grocer's hometown team makes it all the way to Super Bowl, the excitement, and the sales, go to an entirely different level, according to officials at Thibodaux, La.-based Rouses and Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets.
Fans of the New Orleans Saints have been thrilled to watch their team make it to their first Super Bowl. And those fans headed to Rouses in droves during playoff weekends last month.
“We had a huge weekend leading up to the NFC Championship game,” said Scott Miller, an assistant to Donald Rouse. “We've been really pleased with our business.”
Last week, Rouses' homepage announced “We're Going to Miami!” in Saints black and gold, and the company's stores throughout south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region were cooking up specials for the Who Dat Nation.
“We normally do a lot of tailgate packs, barbecue ribs outside, and a tremendous amount of premade party trays,” Miller said. “We'll be boiling crawfish, [which are] getting back into season just now. We'll also have boiled shrimp. As you can imagine, lot of tailgating is done down here. It's always a party.”
Citing one example of how excitement about the Saints has translated into sales at the store, Miller noted that Rouses bakeries typically sell more than 300,000 traditional king cakes during the weeks prior to Christmas through Mardi Gras in February. This year, thanks partly to black and gold iced king cakes made to celebrate the Saints playoff wins, the company is expecting a sales lift of at least 15% to 20% over the same period last year.
“We're actually shipping black and gold king cakes around the country,” Miller said.
In Indianapolis, where the Colts have been perpetual AFC playoff contenders for the past decade, local chain Marsh Supermarkets also saw a big lift in sales at their bakeries and delis. Kent Tapley, Marsh's vice president of deli and bakery, said that while Super Bowl week is always big for deli and bakery departments, there was a significant difference in sales during years when the Colts made it to the big game, and years when they did not.
“Last year, when the Colts were not in the Super Bowl, I compared the sales for the week before Super Bowl with the week of the game,” Tapley said. “Here is what I found. In deli, the week of Super Bowl, sales on Thursday were up 6%, Friday up 14%, Saturday up 31%, and Sunday up 46% over the previous week. Bakery sales were flat on Thursday, up 4% on Friday, up 19% on Saturday, and up 38% on Sunday vs. the previous week's sales.”
By comparison, in 2007, when the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, deli sales were up 22% on Thursday, 33% on Friday, 63% on Saturday and 47% on Sunday, and bakery sales were up 51% on Thursday, 58% on Friday, 59% on Saturday and 59% on Sunday, compared with the previous week.
Last week, Marsh stores were driving sales with specials on fried chicken, boneless wings, buy-one, get-one deep-dish pizzas, and $5 off all party trays over $29.99, among other deals. In bakery, Tapley said 12-inch message cookies for $6.99 were a big hit — the company sold over 10,800 of them during Super Bowl week in 2007, and last week, they were delivering them free to local radio stations, hoping that the D.J.s will mention them on the air.
“When your team is in the game, it makes a huge difference in the sales increase your stores can expect,” Tapley said. “Bakery is where we have had tremendous increases as customers pick up customized items for their parties, school and other get-togethers. The entire city celebrates the game, so almost everyone can become a customer.”