Unseasonal weather hurts heating sales for retailers

Suppliers experience weak sell-through.

Retailers around the country are unanimous about the impact of the unseasonably warm weather on heating sales, and although leading heating suppliers have had strong sell-in, sell-through has been slow.

Wilsonton Betta Home Living in Toowoomba, approximately 125km west of Brisbane, has fans still flying off the shop floor but has not sold a single heater, throw rug or electric blanket due to the unseasonably warm weather, according to interim store manager, Debbie Kemp.

“It has been an awfully slow start for heating sales to take off. However, when the weather cools down, sales will begin. Consumers usually need up to four cool days before considering the purchase of a heater,” she said.

Hot-weather

The Good Guys business manager – home appliances, Denis Harvey also said that the unseasonable weather has caused heating sales to be down year on year.

“However, we have adjusted our buying strategy accordingly. Therefore we have only just started stocking a wider range of more winter skewed products in our stores. Seasonal appliances tend to sell all year round so we try to ensure that we have the right products available to our customer when, where and how they want and need to consume them,” he said.

“As per heating sales, the unseasonal weather has been impacting dryer sales so we are expecting to see spikes in dryer sales occurring later than usual,” he added.

Harvey also noted that cooling sales have remained more consistent across autumn especially in sales of portable air conditioners and fans which are both up significantly year on year.

Meanwhile, Harvey Norman in Balgowlah, approximately 13km north of the Sydney CBD, has also felt the impact of the unseasonal weather on heating sales, second in charge (2IC) Joshua Davie told Appliance Retailer.

“We have sold a number of Rinnai gas and electric heaters, as well as electric blanket units, however, in comparison to previous years, we are behind.

“Once the weather does cool down, I am confident that we will see a spike in sales in the heating category,” he said.

Impact on sell-through for suppliers

Glen Dimplex has had good sell-in coming off a clean season last year. However, sell-through has been slow due to the unseasonal weather.

Marketing manager, Douglas Yapp explained, “Our Electraflame and Optimyst ranges are seen to be as statement furniture pieces rather than just a heater. Due to this, sell-through has not been as seasonally affected as other heating categories have been.”

De’Longhi’s initial sell-in period was well ahead of last year due to increased retailer support and a range of new models.

“The stock is now sitting with retailers, which is where our next issue may be. If they do not sell through their heating stock soon, we may miss out on the replenishment orders that usually come through when the cold weather hits,” category manager, Jessica Hull said.

Sunbeam marketing product manager – seasonal and garment care, Lisa Buscomb noted the slow start to the cold season with some unseasonably warm autumn days.

“We have worked with our retail partners to ensure they are stocked up and ready to go for when the cold arrives and the winter season starts. As with previous years, our inventory levels are managed throughout the season and are currently as planned,” she said.

Meanwhile, Panasonic senior product marketing manager – air conditioning, Joe De Bella said that there has been a firm start to the winter season with good market share for its Econavi reverse cycle air conditioning line.

“There has been a very positive response from consumers in store to our bonus gift card with purchase promotion and we are expecting a strong winter,” he said.

Honeyair has not been significantly impacted by the weather as their products are primarily for outdoor use and therefore are a considered purchase not an impulse purchase, according to general manager, Wayne Marshall.

“Sales have been steady and well up on last year, however off a low base. Our heaters are most popular from February to April and late August to November as consumers try to spend more time outside in the evening.

“Unlike other heating manufacturers, June to September is not a peak selling period for Honeyair, as it is generally too cold to spend time outside even though the heaters are in use,” he added.

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