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Four business sectors cashing in during Australia's heat wave
By Patrick Stafford
While the country may be sweltering through some of the hottest days ever recorded, some businesses are actually enjoying some success as the mercury rises.
Stores in shopping centres, cinemas and ice cream shops are receiving a boom in sales due to the hot weather, although entrepreneurs are warning they don't want the heat to climb too high.
Dominic Lopresti, co-chief executive of Gelatissimo, says his business has recorded some of its best sales ever due to the heat, but also says ultra-hot days above 30 or 35 degrees make things difficult.
"When you get a day like yesterday, or today in New South Wales, it's stifling to the point where people just don't want to leave their homes," he told SmartCompany.
"When the weather hits that 28-29 degree mark, that's when we see things as being great for business."
Russell Zimmerman of the Australian Retailers Association agrees – saying some heat is good, but too much can really put a dent in sales.
"If it gets too hot, people just won't venture out. If people don't have air conditioning they'll tend to go out into the shops, but if they do, then they're likely to stay at home."
However, Zimmerman did provide some good news. He's hearing reports that many businesses are doing well from the heat.
"There are some great opportunities from the heat," he says. "Any business selling fans, or cooling products, is going to do extremely well. Some of the more expensive fans of up to $200 are apparently flying out the door in some areas."
Zimmerman also says as the heat wave has been anticipated for some time, retailers were ready for the onslaught.
"About two years ago, the weather was fairly cool in the lead-up to Christmas. But then in February, it got quite hot, and products like fans and cooling equipment weren't in stock."
"Now, I think retailers have stocked up and there is going to be less of a strain."
With the heat reaching as high as 50 degrees in some parts of the country, it's good to know there are at least some businesses doing well:
As Dominic Lopresti testifies, ice cream and gelato stores are doing very well. Lopresti's own business, which was a runner-up for a SmartCompany-sponsored innovation award last year, has broken several sales records.
"It's no secret we're a seasonal business, but it does help that with every degree it gets warmer we see a spike in sales."
"Certainly in the past week, sales have broken some records, although ideally we'd like to see those nice, warm comfortable days where people can go out with their families or friends."
Cinema chains across the country have recorded higher bookings as a result of the heat – it's a favourite choice among older consumers who choose to stay out of the warmth.
A spokesperson for Hoyts told The Manly Daily cinemas in Victoria have experienced strong trade, with similar sales expected for New South Wales as well.
Russell Zimmerman reports some locations have recorded the highest pre-booking sales ever.
3. Department stores
Gerry Harvey commented last year that if it was a hot summer, he'd be a happy entrepreneur – his wishes have come true. Zimmerman reports stores selling any types of fans, including more expensive options, are recording solid sales.
Harvey Norman, Kmart and Target are no doubt enjoying the extra attention as consumers look for ways to get cool.
4. Shopping centres
Although it's true many people may choose to stay indoors on exceptionally hot days, shopping centre-based stores are experiencing higher levels of foot traffic.
"Certainly the activity in shopping centres will have increased," says Zimmerman.
Lopresti agrees, saying he's noted his company's stores located in shopping centres have "performed very well".
This story first appeared on SmartCompany.
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