Business

Fan shortage reported by stores and shoppers

Argos website warning Image copyright Argos.co.uk
Image caption Argos website warning

Stores and shoppers across the UK are reporting a shortage of fans in the midst of unusually hot weather.

Customers have found fans to be out of stock in branches of major retailers including Tesco, Argos, Sainsbury's and Wilko.

Some have used social media to vent about the difficulties they've faced buying a fan.

One London-based shopper said he had to go to seven different stores before he was able to buy one.

Steven Bridges, a magician and vlogger, says his mission started at "a big Sainsbury's in south London", but he found himself out of luck there, as well as subsequently at M&S, TK Maxx and Next, while Argos only had premium fans available.

"There was nothing up to £50, the top end of my fan budget."

Mr Bridges left a further store disappointed before finally securing a fan he'd noticed in the window of a stationery shop.

He posted a photo on Twitter to mark the occasion.

Wilko confirmed they were short of fans and blamed it on "increased demand for summer essentials", resulting in "record sales".

Pete Hardie, housewares buyer at Wilko, said: "Sales of our summer essentials, including fans, have been up 90% on our previous best season.

"Top selling items have been stand fans for cooling larger rooms, desk fans for smaller spaces and handheld fans," he added.

Argos has resorted to posting a warning on its website.

When shoppers enter the search term "fan", a tailored message informs the customer that fans are "low in stock."

"We've really felt the heat this past couple of weeks," it reads.

Sainsbury's and Tesco failed to respond to queries about their fan supply.

The surge in demand coincides with an extended period of hot weather across the country.

The Met Office says the temperature was above 28C somewhere in the UK every day for 15 days from 25th June to 9th July, and for 22 days in total up to 7 August.

Though not unprecedented, this is "obviously an unusual spell of hot weather", the Met Office added.

Many people are turning to fans to cool and ventilate rooms in their homes, as most houses and flats in the UK do not have air conditioning.

Figures from a decade ago suggest only 0.5% of properties in Britain had air con installed at the time.

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