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The National Football League is quite jolly this season over sales of women's apparel.

They've tripled in the last year.

And Buffalo Bills fans of both sexes love to show their support of the team.

Fans living in Buffalo are 42 percent more likely than sports fans nationwide to own NFL merchandise, according to an ESPN poll.

"We're expecting a strong fourth quarter," said Susan Rothman, vice president of consumer products. "It will be especially strong for those teams that are doing well."

While sales skyrocketed nationwide, the increase in Buffalo has been more modest, retailers say. Much of what the NFL is offering for women is better suited to fans in California, Texas or the south.

"It's growing, but I can't say it's tripled for me," said Kathy Molnar of Laux Sporting Goods. "They're doing a lot of garments that are halter tops, sleeveless and little skirts. A lot of those are warm weather items. I did look at the line coming up for 2005, and they've addressed a lot of the issues for our region."

While the Bills haven't seen as many victories as the fans would like this season, their record may not matter much to female shoppers. The NFL has found that women's buying patterns are less sensitive to wins and losses than men's.

"I think women buy sports apparel as they buy all their other apparel. Women are more fashion conscious and buy new clothes more frequently," Rothman said. "Men tend to hold onto items a little longer. When the team is good, they add to their collection or replace something that's been around for a while."


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