Heat wave: Four things that will rise with the temperatures

Slowing down because of rising heat is the expected response in any summer heat wave. But in a week like this one, where high temperatures fanned across the country, sizzling toward 100 degrees F. from Texas to Boston, some things also go up. Here are four things to expect to rise along with our desire to stay indoors and beat the heat.

1. Sales of stuff that keeps you cool

Sue Ogrocki/AP
Girls keep cool as they walk laps past a large fan in the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma City Monday.

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.

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