Heat wave buoys sales of cooling goods

JIJI

Air conditioners, fans, cooling pajamas and parasols are selling well as another sweltering summer heats up the nation.

Electronics retailer Bic Camera Inc. said fan sales rose 1.5-fold and air conditioner sales doubled from July 6 to Wednesday, compared with the previous year. The Meteorological Agency said the rainy season in the Kanto region ended July 6.

Sales of such products took off sharply at the beginning of July as temperatures soared, a Bic Camera spokesman said.

Following summer rate hikes by utilities across the nation, demand has grown particularly for an energy-saving air conditioner that can direct air mainly to places where people are and a fan that can warn users about the risk of heat-related illnesses, the spokesman said.

Major retailer Aeon Co. said sales of temperature-reducing bedclothes and bedding grew some 20 percent between July 1 and Thursday compared with the year before.

Sales of parasols jumped 2.3 times and those of traditional folding fans 2.8 times at department store operator Sogo & Seibu Co.’s flagship Seibu Ikebukuro store in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, from July 6 to Tuesday.

Sales of frozen sweets are also brisk. Convenience store operator Lawson Inc. saw sales of a key dessert pass 1 million units.

For Akagi Nyugyo Co., sales of its mainstay Garigarikun popsicle have taken off since the end of the rainy season. The company expects sales of the popular popsicle to reach 500 million this year, up from 438 million the previous year.

Aside from cooling products, the traditional “beer gardens” on the rooftops of department stores and other high-rises are also attracting customers. Sales at the beer garden at Sogo & Seibu’s Ikebukuro store had shot up 85 percent from a year earlier in the 11 days through Thursday.

At Asakusa Station in Taito Ward, Tokyo, a rooftop beer garden opened in June by Tobu Railway Co. is winning customers with its panoramic view of Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcasting tower, and the night breeze from the Sumida River, a Tobu Railway spokesman said. The beer garden is 90 percent booked for July.