Air-cons hot in QLD, cold in NSW

By Sarah Falson

EAGLE FARM, Qld: Air conditioners were hot sellers at Betta Electrical and Chandlers stores throughout January this year, even though other retailers have been struggling to sell units due to the cooler-than-expected weather and MEPS requirements.

Betta Stores Retail (BSR) Australia, the franchisor responsible for the Betta Electrical and Chandlers retail brands, today sent out a press release to boast about the success of its air conditioner sales, adding that the national franchise group has enjoyed “an excellent start to 2007”.

“A milder than usual December led customers to hold off on their purchases of traditionally popular summer product lines such as air conditioners, but the hot weather well and truly returned in January, helping to boost sales well above our forecasts,” said BSR general manager, Ian Brown in the statement.

Brown said customers also responded well to both an Australia Day media campaign and the sales featured in BSR’s January catalogues. Sales in the week of the Australia Day holiday jumped eight per cent from a year ago, the statement said.

New South Wales-based retailers have not been as lucky as their Queensland counterparts, however, with the average maximum Sydney temperature falling at 6.1 degrees lower than that of Brisbane – the latter’s average maximum temperature was a high 29.2 degrees, according to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.

“Sydney air conditioner sales were lower-than-expected,” Bing Lee general manager, Phil Moujeas, told Current.com.au

“NSW temperatures during January were low, and air conditioner sales were lower across the board.”

Last month, two Adelaide-based Retravision outlets told Current.com.au that air conditioner sales were down there, too, not only due to the weather but also because the latest Miniumum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) introduced last year that requires window/wall air conditioners to be built larger, which has caused problems for consumers upgrading their products.

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

“There is a limited supply of box systems coming in at the moment. With the MEPS-compliancy, the size of the boxes has gone up,” said Retravision Croydon store manager, Linda Turner.

An LG spokesperson explained to Current.com.au that the larger units house increased internals in order to make them more energy efficient.

“MEPS requires that units be more energy efficient. To do this, the size of the compressor and the heat exchanger needed to increase. Hence the chassis of the unit needs to increase to house these components,” an LG spokesperson told Current.com.au

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