Sales of electric fans in Tokyo are showing no signs of cooling off as the summer heat is fast approaching, amid calls by the government for energy conservation.
Stores are reporting shortages of fans, as manufacturers are boosting production to keep up with the overheating demand.
BicCamera Inc. at its Yurakucho, Tokyo, outlet opened a special counter for electric fans near a store entrance on May 6. They are selling at four to five times the pace last year, and the store is relying on relief staff from other floors to deal with the incessant flow of customers, according to a counter employee.
Products in the of 4,000-6,000 yen ($49-$74) price range are selling the best, but high-end models, with price tags of around 30,000 yen and offering a lower consumption of power, are also popular sellers.
The Kan administration is touting electric fans as a viable option for saving power in homes.
"You can save power by 50 percent if you use them in place of air conditioners," it said.
K's Holdings Corp., a major retailer of home electrical appliances, said sales soared to about 15 times last year's levels after the government decided on a 15 percent summer energy savings goal on May 13.
In May, Yamada Denki Co., the nation's leading electronics retailer, sold five times the number of electric fans it sold last year. The Daiei Inc., a major supermarket chain, is also selling about 3.5 times the number in normal years. At volume retailers in Tokyo, the supply is running low for products of all major manufacturers, including Toshiba Home Appliances Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co.
A spokesperson for Toshiba Home Appliances said the company can literally sell as many fans as it produces. The firm is bracing for an output hike of more than 20 percent over what was originally planned.
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