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As mercury soars, Kolkatans rush to beat rising AC prices till old stocks last

With the mercury touching 36°C-37°C, many people are making a beeline to purchase air conditioners to beat a possible price rise.

After the second round of price hike in January this year, the air conditioners manufactured by different brands may become dearer by 5% to 7% in the city market from April. The leading retailers of electronics are attributing the possible spike to several factors, especially the cost escalation of raw materials and freight cost increase.

AC manufacturers pointed out that though they are absorbing the rise in input cost, they will have to raise the price soon. Partha Roy, who has a jewellery shop in South Kolkata, said, “I wanted to install an AC for my shop. I heard that there may be a price hike and immediately I decided to buy that now.” Some like Sudeshna Suvadarsinee, an IT professional, are also contemplating cancelling the plan to buy an AC now. She said, “The price hike may deal a heavy blow to many consumers this summer. Our AC has become old and we were planning to buy a new one on Poila Baisakh. But now that the prices are going through the roof, we have cancelled the plan.”

However, the major dealers in the city have stocked up on ACs in the run-up to summer and some of them are still selling it at the old price. But it is likely that the old stocks will finish before Poila Baisakh when the customers may have to cough up the revised prices.

Prerna Khosla Gupta, sales and marketing head of Khosla Electronics, told TOI: “The dealers like us are already purchasing the ACs at the revised rates. Since we still have the old stock, we are selling ACs at the old prices. When it comes to the new stock, the price of the AC will be Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 more.”

Pulkit Baid, director, Great Eastern Retail, has witnessed a 25% jump in sales in March this year compared to same period last year. Baid pointed out that due to early summer many customers have brought forward the AC purchase this month. “The ACs have become expensive this year due to a series of price hikes, which stem from the jump in raw material prices,” he said.

“The AC price has seen 10%-15% hike with more escalation to take place in the coming month,” said Abhishek Jain, owner of Sales Emporium, which is now offering old prices to the customers with the help of the earlier stocks.

Panasonic India is anticipating a double digit growth from the AC segment this summer as the demand is on the rise. “We have increased the price of the ACs by around 6-8%,”said Gaurav Sah, business head, air conditioners group of the company.

Kamal Nandi, business head and executive vice president, Godrej Appliances, said, “ The price hike is inevitable. It will depend on the summer demand and supply chain challenges.” Times Of India

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