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Heatwaves – a new peak season for retailers?

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Peak seasons don’t always have to come during winter – sometimes they can strike right in the middle of summer.

As the Europe-wide heatwave continues, European electronics retailers are facing high demand for certain items from customers desperate to keep cool –and in many cases struggling to meet it.

In Germany, for example, the largest electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn has come close to running out of electronic fans and air conditioners both online and in stores.

While the company does not disclose specific sales data, the unusually long heatwave is taking its toll and leaving the company “nearly sold out” of devices across all price categories, according to press spokesperson Annabell Feith.

“At the moment we are advising our customers to have a regular look into our online shops and check the availability there if they want to buy a product,” she said.

Here the problem was primarily a lack of supply rather than a logistics issue, with Feith saying that the products available from the manufacturer are naturally limited.

It is too early to tell how this might help shape the company’s approach to peak periods. But the impact of the German heatwave is not just limited to the electrical sector, however – the demand is pushing some beer producers close to breaking point.

“We need your help!” wrote German brewer Moritz Fiege in a light-hearted post on its Facebook page. It went on to implore drinkers to deposit their empty bottles to beverage retailers before going on their holidays. The Facebook appeal represents an innovative effort to combine a solution for its supply problems with social media outreach.

“While you lie in the sun, we make the bottles full again,” the post added.

But there is an upside – while Moritz Fiege normally bottles 100,000 to 120,000 beers a day, this summer that figure is up to 160,000, a spokesperson confirmed to InternetRetailing. The Facebook post has reached over 1700 likes and hundreds of comments.

Unexpected events such as heatwaves may present supply and logistics problems for retailers, being prepared for the accompanying spikes in demand could also present a considerable opportunity.

Image credit: Fotolia

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