Houston Furniture Store Loses $7 Million Super Bowl Bet With Customers
Houston furniture retail CEO Jim McIngvale lost $7 million worth of furniture in a promotional bet with customers that the Denver Broncos would win the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.
Gallery Furniture Bet: The Rules
McIngvale, known in Texas as ‘Mattress Mack,’ held a special Super Bowl promotion: customers who spent more than $6,000 at Gallery Furniture in the two weeks before the game and had their furniture delivered before kickoff on Sunday, Feb. 2, would receive a full refund if the Seahawks won the game. Gallery Furniture determined which team it would be betting on based on a coin toss.
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Mattress Mack has held these types of promotions before. In fact, just a month before McIngvale had lost around $600,000 to customers on NFC and AFC title games.
Now, McIngvale owes full refunds of around $7,000 to about 1,000 customers who took advantage of the promotion. Unlike other companies, which take out insurance to cover the potentially extreme loss, McIngvale chose to risk it all. He says he believes that his risk is worth it because it helps Gallery Furniture build trust with customers.
“I do not regret it one bit. It’s an exciting promotion for our customers. At Gallery Furniture, if it’s good for our customers, it’s good for us… Customers are thrilled, and so are we,” McIngvale said in an interview with ABC News.
Mattress Mack Hopes Promotion Will Attract New Customers
McIngvale, who, according to the Gallery Furniture website, has a history of betting it all on advertising, admits that he hopes the buzz generated by this extreme $7 million bet will result in profits in the future.
“Doing a promotion like this creates affinity, creates trust with the customer, makes you relevant. We already have people sending us videos of them jumping up and down celebrating, so I have no doubt that what we will lose is already worth it to our business,” McIngvale told ESPN.
McIngvale is confident that the net loss, though it may hurt now, is a small price to pay for the amount of publicity, buzz and good-will the bet has generated among the public and, most importantly, Gallery Furniture customers.
“We’ll make it up in the next couple of months. One thing I’ve learned over my 32-year furniture career is that if you make a loss… you can always make back the money. Getting back customers is almost impossible,” says the furniture retail vet.
Customers eligible for a full refund can call in to get their money back and Gallery Furniture will also be hosting two refund parties at the end of February.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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