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Heat waves aren’t just scorching people, they are incinerating local businesses

By: Leticia Miranda

“The hotter it gets, the more it’s about need-based shopping,” said one weather intelligence analyst.

Millions of Americans are under an extreme heat advisory recommending they avoid strenuous activity and stay well hydrated — but for some restaurants and stores, the heat wave threatens worker safety and guts traffic into stores, leading to a dramatic downturn in business. . .

. . . “The hotter it gets, the more it’s about need-based shopping,” said Evan Gold, executive vice president of the weather intelligence firm Planalytics. “So, discretionary places tend to take a hit and need-based businesses go up.”

Weather-driven demand across the country has spiked by 21 percent for air conditioners this week compared to an average week, according to Planalytics. Demand for fans increased 15 percent and water toy demand is up 10 percent, according to the firm. Demand for hot coffee fell by 2 percent and lawn mowers by 3 percent.

While hot weather might be good news for the cooling unit industry, it strikes another blow at the already struggling restaurant industry. The pandemic led to the closure of more than 110,000 restaurants last year and nearly 2.5 million jobs were lost, compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the National Restaurant Association. Restaurant and food service industry sales also fell $240 billion below 2020 projections. . . .

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