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Shoppers are panic-buying as heatwave shows no signs of letting up

PUBLISHED: 11:55 24 July 2018

Megan Aldous at the Archant office in Ipswich with a desk fan

Megan Aldous at the Archant office in Ipswich with a desk fan

Archant

With temperatures soaring to 33.3 degrees in Suffolk on Monday and no end to the heatwave in sight, shoppers have been panic-buying electric fans at hardware stores across the region.

The new Wickes store in Martlesham Heath which has sold out of fans. Picture: WICKESThe new Wickes store in Martlesham Heath which has sold out of fans. Picture: WICKES

One shopper, David Vincent, was disappointed not to be able to buy a fan at Wicks in Ipswich on Monday evening. “There was just a constant stream of customers coming in and asking the staff for fans when I was there,” he said. “Some of them had been driving from store to store trying to buy the last remaining stock left.”

An employee of the company’s store in Martlesham, which sold out of its last fans on Monday, said the company had only a “minimal quantity” of fans left at any of their East Anglian stores. “We didn’t predict the weather to be like this at the beginning of the year, when we had to decide on our stock numbers,” he explained. “We’re still seeing lots of people asking for fans and we’re having to turn them away.”

The rush to buy fans may have been prompted by warnings by the MET office earlier in the week to “stay out of the sun and keep your home as cool as possible.”

The situation was the same at the Range, which had sold out over the weekend from the company’s store in Colchester and at the Ipswich branch, only the four-inch mini-fans were left by Tuesday morning. “We’re selling out as soon as new stock comes in,” said a retail assistant there, who confirmed that swimming pools, inflatables and paddling pools were also “selling like hotcakes.”

Enjoying the summer sun and walking amongst the Lavender field Picture: JANICE POULSONEnjoying the summer sun and walking amongst the Lavender field Picture: JANICE POULSON

At Homebase in Ipswich, an assistant confirmed on Tuesday morning that they had two eight-inch fans left, “but not the floor fans that everyone seems to be after,” while B&M Bargains in Colchester sold out of fans at the weekend.

The unusually hot spell is also affecting the market for Christmas trees, with the prospect that shoppers will panic-buy as the festive season approaches. A representative from Wrentham Christmas Trees in Beccles, a family-run business based at Field Farm, said she was “concerned” about the weather’s impact on her younger trees. “The young ones are suffering, we’ve lost quite a few recently. I don’t know what we’re going to do, I just hope it rains soon.”

But the sunny weather is proving fortuitous for lavender farmers, as the strong-scented plant thrives in the sunshine. “Our lavender is producing more oil,” said Adrienne Deroy a lavender grower at Copperas Wood Farm in Harwich. “Lavender comes from the Mediterranean, so its used to this heat. Ours flowered early this year. We cut it two weeks ago, whereas usually we wait until the middle of this month to harvest.”

Wrentham Christmas tree farm preparing the trees for next Christmas.
Trevor Oram with a young tree planted in November last year.

Picture: James BassWrentham Christmas tree farm preparing the trees for next Christmas. Trevor Oram with a young tree planted in November last year. Picture: James Bass

Wrentham Christmas tree farm preparing the trees for next Christmas.
Trevor Oram pruning the growing trees.

Picture: James BassWrentham Christmas tree farm preparing the trees for next Christmas. Trevor Oram pruning the growing trees. Picture: James Bass

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