STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers weren't the only winners during Super Bowl Weekend. Copps Corp. deli party trays scored, too.
The delis in half of the retailer's 17 stores racked up record single-day sales on the Saturday preceding the big game, chain officials said. The best-selling category was party trays, but sales of fried chicken and wings soared as well, said Kurt Krahn, Copps' deli director.
"I feel like sending the Packers a thank-you note," said Krahn. "It's been better than Christmas. If there was another winner here, it was the grocery industry, particularly the delis. People were buying all the finger foods. We expected good sales increases, but these were extreme."
He added that Copps' delis posted sales for the month of January that are up 15% over the same period a year ago. Krahn attributes that to the tremendous number of parties people were having all month.
"We had stellar sales all through January," he noted. "There were parties every weekend. There were three playoff games that involved the Packers, and even for the one that didn't, there were parties. People had friends over to watch the games on TV."
The chain has two stores in Green Bay, and Krahn said it was no surprise that they were among the single-day sales record-breakers. But one store here -- 90 minutes from Green Bay -- sold 250 mini party trays between Saturday afternoon and midday on Super Bowl Sunday, Krahn said.
"It's a medium-volume store, and they weren't moving the trays as fast at they had wanted to, so the deli manager began sampling them Saturday afternoon," he added. "The rest of the day, they were selling 25 trays an hour."
The mini party trays, overwrapped on a nine-inch round of cardboard, contained sliced cheese and sausage. The retail price was $6 to $7.
Krahn sent out a memo to all deli managers early in January to remind them to create "substantial" displays of the best-seller mini trays. They were displayed in the self-service deli case. To make room, deli managers cut back on prepacked sandwiches and salads, and consolidated other products in the cases.
"At least one manager told me his department made up more pre-ordered trays for Super Bowl Sunday than they did for New Year's Eve," Krahn said.
In past years, retailers have told SN that they lost sales to sports bars on Super Bowl Sunday, but that apparently wasn't the case here.
"We have sports bars here, but obviously not everybody was watching the games at them or we wouldn't have shown the increases we did," Krahn said. He added that many people seemed to be having small parties at home.
Some of Copps' increase could have been spurred by the hoopla orchestrated in-store. Krahn said the stores went all-out right after Christmas in decorating for Super Bowl month.
"Here everything was green and gold [the Packers' colors]," he said. "We had banners and ribbons and balloons everywhere and we encouraged our associates to wear the colors, Packers' garb. There was a lot of team spirit."
A Super Bowl giveaway dinner helped bring customers in, Krahn said. Copps called attention to the drawing, which took place in all its stores on the Wednesday prior to Super Bowl, with in-store signs and in its newspaper ad.
The dinner for 25 people included a 10-pound cooked pit ham, ham rolls, chips, potato salad and a case of soda. "We received vendor sponsorship for it all," Krahn said. The company also gave away two official NFL footballs in the drawing.
The bakery and meat departments at Copps also got into the swing of things for Super Bowl month. The bakery sold a lot of cakes with licensed images of Packer quarterback Brett Favre on them, Krahn said. And some of Copps' meat departments sold green-and-gold shrimp cocktail trays. The shrimp were dyed with food coloring.
"You have to realize this whole state went a little crazy when the Packers made it to the Super Bowl," Krahn said. "We've been waiting for this for years. Now, in the aftermath, I think there's a little post-Super Bowl depression setting in."