Malls are high on the list of places where people frequent for free air conditioning outside the home. So it’s not a surprise that retail sales jump during heat waves, especially on goods related to keeping cool.
Air conditioner and fan sales increased 25 percent in June compared with the same month last year, according to Planalytics, a market research firm in Berwyn, Pa., that specializes on consumer buying power during extreme weather. Increases in similar expenditures, such as water and sport-drink sales (20 percent) and sun-care items (15 percent), followed accordingly.
“When you see items like these picking up, it’s a pretty safe bet they’re affected by the weather,” says Peter Zaleski, an economist at the Villanova School of Business in Pennsylvania. Professor Zaleski says retailers are very adept at using weather tracking early each season to determine what items to stock and at what volume, and they understand that “people are willing to pay a higher price” when immediacy is at play.