Average temperatures might have topped 30 degrees Celsius in parts of the UK this week, but many will struggle to cool down because of a shortage of fans, MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal.
We looked at the availability of standalone and desk fans on 10 retailers' websites, and found most stores' stocks have been blown away by the demand (see our Cheap Online Shopping guide to cut costs).
We started at our local Argos in west London, where there wasn't a single fan left. The Argos website revealed there was only one fan left in stock in our 10 nearest branches. The company says it's seen a tenfold sales increase in fans.
John Lewis has sold out of fans at Oxford Street and Brent Cross, London. And nationwide, furniture store Habitat and supermarket Sainsbury's are completely out of stock online.
We called the 10 retailers to ask about nationwide availability. But it wasn't a breeze getting the answers, with some refusing to give out stock levels.
|Retailer||What the retailer says||What MoneySavingExpert.com found online (i)|
"Over the past week, Argos has seen more than a tenfold sales increase in fans across its range."
|Only one single fan in stock out of 10 local stores. Can't check nationwide availability.|
|Asda||Asda won't give us any information as it deems the issue to be "not important enough".||No fans listed online.|
|B&Q||"B&Q still has reasonable stock levels of both fans and air conditioning units across the whole of the UK."||No fans in stock out of five local stores. Can't check nationwide availability.|
"Sales have been really strong for the past few days, but we took the precaution of ordering more units in at the start of the week so customers would experience minimal inconvenience."
|No fans in stock out of nine local stores. Can't check nationwide availability.|
|Habitat||We're awaiting confirmation from Habitat. We'll update this news story as soon as we hear anything.||Out of stock online.|
"Sales of fans and air conditioning units increased by nearly 400% last week compared to the previous week. Last week was the best week for sales of fans and air conditioning units for several years."
|No fans in stock out of five local stores. Can't check nationwide availability.|
|John Lewis||"There is now a national shortage of fans and John Lewis is doing everything it possibly can to secure more stock."||Out of stock online. MSE also rang its Oxford Street and Brent Cross stores and they were out of stock.|
|Morrisons||Fan stock levels are "not great".||N/A (ii)|
|Sainsbury's||"We never discuss stock levels of any product as this is commercially sensitive."||Out of stock online.|
|Tesco||"We have fans in stock and will be getting more over the weekend. We've also seen an increase in sales."||One type of fan in stock online. Can't check local store availability online.|
Correct at 18 July 2013. (i) We looked at a maximum of eight fans per retailer, all priced under £100, and picked at random. "Local stores" are close to Shepherd's Bush, west London.
(ii) Morrisons doesn't sell homeware online.
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Looking to buy a fan?
If you're looking to buy a fan, it's worth checking websites including Amazon and eBay, as well as giveaway sites Freecycle and Freegle to see if you can snap up a bargain.
If you live near a store, try calling ahead to see what stock levels are like before making a special trip.