Fans, hoses and air-con: Heatwave-hit Britons seek relief

LONDON: Sales of electric fans, hoses, air-conditioning units and sprinklers are soaring as Britons swelter amid record temperatures, retailers said.

Britain was on course for its hottest day on record on Monday (Jul 18) with temperatures forecast to hit 40 degrees Celsius for the first time, forcing train companies to cancel services, schools to close early and ministers to urge the public to stay at home.

Sainsbury’s, Britain’s No 2 supermarket group which also owns the Argos general merchandise business, said sales of fans last week rose 1,876 per cent versus the week before, while sales of air-conditioning units were up 2,420 per cent and sales of paddling pools were up 814 per cent.

Home improvement retailer B&Q, which is owned by Kingfisher, said sales of hoses and sprinklers have more than doubled this week compared to a typical week, while sales of hot tubs have nearly tripled.

Travis Perkins’ Toolstation business said sales of fans have risen by 641 per cent over the last week compared to the week before as tradespeople struggle to stay cool.

It said smart technology that controls temperatures has increased by 95 per cent, while sales of hoses had increased by 56 per cent and sales of water cans by 21 per cent.

“With the nation strapping in for a scorcher, it’s little surprise that they are looking for ways to keep cool,” said a Toolstation spokesperson.

Supermarkets have also reported soaring sales of ice cream, drinks, BBQ charcoals and suncare products.

However, analysts said that on balance the heatwave is generally bad news for physical retailers as it is too hot to shop, adding to pressure on a sector already struggling with a cost of living crisis.

Market researcher Springboard said shopper numbers, or footfall, across all UK high streets was down 7.3 per cent up to 10am GMT on Monday compared to last week.