Air con sales stagnant as suppliers struggle with MEPS

By Sarah Falson

ADELAIDE: A hotter-than-anticipated week in Australia’s south has failed to hike up air conditioner sales, with split systems and window wall units declining in availability and rising in size.

According to Retravision Norwood store manager, Geoff Potter, suppliers are pushing Inverter split systems while sales of window wall or “traditional box systems” are decreasing.

“We’re still not writing any records,” said Potter of air conditioner sales in general over the past weeks. 

“Sales seem to have increased this year on the whole, but not more-so in the past few weeks – though it’s difficult to say when the last two or three summers haven’t really happened.”

Interestingly, both Potter and Retravision Croydon store manager, Linda Turner, mentioned that new air conditioner units – particularly window wall systems – that have been re-engineered to comply with the latest Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) guidelines that came into effect on April 1 2006, are larger than previous models, meaning they are too big to fit in a consumer’s wall if a hole was already cut there for a former unit.

“There is a limited supply of box systems coming in at the moment. What we’ve got we’re selling, including Fujitsu, Kelvinator, and we have some Teco units on order, but with the MEPS-compliancy, the size of the boxes has gone up,” said Turner.

“We’re not selling many box systems because they’re now too big to fit in the walls,” said Potter.

According to Turner, the area around his Norwood store includes lots of rental properties, and both he and Potter agree that portable refrigeration units have sold steadily this summer.

“Split systems haven’t waned,” said Turner. 

Both stores agree that the product that made the highest monetary turnover through the Boxing Day and post-Christmas sales was flat screen televsions. 

“Large screen TVs are selling well as more suppliers are getting into the game and prices are declining,” said Potter.

According to Potter, side-by-side fridges and DVD/video combination units are also selling very well at his store, particularly since his store stages a “good deal” on the latter product.

Turner says plasma is still out-selling LCD, as many consumer don’t realise that LCD prices and quality are increasingly matching plasma’s, while Potter declared Panasonic-branded plasmas were the hot product in terms of both volume and price this year.

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