By Craig Zammit .

SYDNEY: The Socceroos were not the only winners sporting smiles this week; retailers have also reported a victory, with sales on the increase in the weeks preceding the kick-off to the FIFA World Cup in Germany.

According to Pioneer national account manager – sales and home entertainment, Neil Walden, June sales have exceeded all expectations.

“There was a massive spike in sales last weekend, compared to previous trading weeks, with consumers trying to get their plasmas set up and ready for Australia’s first match against Japan.

“We are expecting the good sales to continue throughout the entire World Cup, with sales expected to stay at this level for at least two or three weeks, and of course longer if Australia goes further – which we can only cross our fingers for,” said Walden.

Walden also commented on the DVD recorder category, saying consumers have been migrating towards the larger capacity hard disc drive models throughout June.

“Overall in DVD recorders, 160GB hard drives are the key technology, as consumers are looking to recording the entire World Cup in one hit.”

Panasonic Australia director – consumer electronics, Paul Reid, also reflected a significant growth in sales and market share during the month of May, as a result of the World Cup build up.

“We believe the World Cup is currently a key driver in demand for recording devices. DVD Recorders offer the flexibility that consumers are looking for to capture Australia’s involvement in the event across late night viewing times.

 “With a single machine such as the DMR-EH65 offering both hard drive and DVD recording capabilities, the whole World Cup tournament can be saved for future viewing," he said.

One Sydney-based Harvey Norman store has even reported a 14 per cent increase in audio visual sales from May to June 2005 to 2006.

“Sales have definitely increased since the World Cup started; the television department has been choc-a-block,” said a Harvey Norman Sydney store person who wished to remain anonymous.

“Last weekend we had alot of people come through the store buying up before the World Cup started. We had to have every cashier open, it was really busy.”

Harvey Norman marketing manager, Ross Morgan, also told the Sydney Morning Herald that plasma TV and DVD recorder sales had increased 100 per cent compared to this time last year, and that 40 per cent of that increase could be attributed to the World Cup.

However, LCD screen manufacturers LG.Philips, Sharp, AU Optronics and Samsung Electronics have all reported a decline in shares, which according to the Financial Review has seen LG.Philips cut both its sales earning and shipment growth forecasts.

Nonetheless it seems the retail front will remain strong, with both Sony and Sharp also telling the Financial Review that LCD sales rose from May last year to 2006 and that larger sized LCD televisions had been selling particularly well.