Sales of incandescent light bulbs have shot through the roof as shoppers stock up in the wake of the European ban, brightening up DIY retailers’ trade.
Home Retail Group said sales of incandescent light bulbs at its Homebase chain have rocketed 300% in the past fortnight, while Focus DIY said it has experienced a “dramatic” increase in sales of the banned bulbs over the past few weeks.
The uplift comes on the back of the EU ban on the manufacture and import of 100-watt and frosted incandescent light bulbs, which came into force on Tuesday. The EU wants consumers to use environmentally friendly energy-saving light bulbs instead.
A spokesman for Home Retail Group, which agreed to phase out incandescent light bulbs at its Homebase and Argos chains from January this year, said: “We envisage this [the sales uplift] to continue until remaining stocks are sold.”
At Focus, for the week beginning August 10, it sold 2,360 60W Pearl Light Bulbs. It expected sales to soar to 20,000 by the end of this week.
Focus DIY category director for decorative Neil Mellors said: “This stockpiling reaction is something that we anticipated and all of our stores are well equipped for the surge in business.”
Since September 1, retailers have been permitted to sell any remaining supplies but not to buy in stock.
The UK’s largest home improvement retailer B&Q has also committed to a phase-out of incandescent light bulbs by 2011 and will eventually offer more than 200 varieties of energy-efficient bulbs.
Energy-efficient fluorescent lighting uses 80% less electricity than traditional bulbs, according to The Energy Saving Trust. They are more expensive than traditional bulbs, but save money in the long run.
The Government said the switch to low-energy bulbs will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by around 5 million tonnes a year.
However, a loophole has been identified in the legislation that allows the purchase of near-identical traditional bulbs intended for industrial use from specialists and online stores for about £1 each.