Sales of MU merchandise surge

Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | 11:50 p.m. CST; updated 10:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Local store owners expect a surge in MU merchandise sales as a result of Tuesday’s Cotton Bowl victory.

Fans placed about 150 online orders for MU gear on the Tiger Team Store’s Web site on Monday and Tuesday.

The store released a gray Cotton Bowl champion T-shirt on its Web site Wednesday, and Erika Harrison, a sales associate at the store, said they will start selling the T-shirts at the store Thursday.

Sales associate Will Turnbough said the Tiger Team Store started selling Cotton Bowl T-shirts and sweatshirts a month ago, and the most popular items are a short-sleeved black T-shirt depicting Missouri and Arkansas helmets and a long-sleeved gold T-shirt picturing an MU football on the front and listing the season’s scores and schedules on the back.

Sales at the store this week had not been as frenzied as a few days before the game, but Turnbough said the high internet sales surprised him.

Tiger Spirit store co-owner Steve Dillard said the Ninth Street store, which specializes in MU gear, will get 200 T-shirts, with two different designs, on Thursday to meet demand.

“I’m sure there’s going to be something related to the game that we won,” he said. “Usually after Christmas, the sales slow down in January, but there is going to be a little rush after this game.”

Co-owner Michelle Dillard said she is too busy to keep up with the exact number of Cotton Bowl T-shirts sold at the store, but she estimated that more than 300 have been sold so far.

Michelle Froese, public relations manager of MU Student and Auxiliary Services, which runs the University Bookstore and co-runs the Tiger Team store, said that usually in the regular fall football season, sales for Tiger merchandise go up and stay high until Homecoming, before they gradually tap out later in the year.

But this year, sales are not going down too much, and Internet sales are climbing up, Froese said.

“Right now the Tiger merchandise is the biggest thing. Can’t keep them in store,” said Jim Hummer, a sales associate with Sportibles, a local store that sells team memorabilia.

After the Christmas shopping mania, he said the only stock left in the store were odd sizes of Tiger T-shirts and sweatshirts. Hummer said that the store is ordering Cotton Bowl T-shirts and expected them to arrive within a month.

As soon as it was announced that Missouri made the Cotton Bowl, the store almost ran out of stock. They had to reorder three times, Hummer said.

Tiger Town store owner Mark Patek called the Tigers’ success this year a pleasant surprise. He said his store had ordered three shipments of MU Tigers T-shirts before Christmas, and all of them sold out.

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