Bottled water sales heat up in sultry U.K.

July 21, 2013 at 10:42 AM
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LONDON, July 21 (UPI) -- Suppliers say the current heat wave in Britain has caused a surge in purchases of bottled water.

Cold water has seemingly trumped tepid beer as a drink of choice among Britons who have been snapping up supplies even though some stores have raised their prices.

"I have never seen anything like it and I have been in this job over 15 years," said James Smith, the managing director of Shepley Spring, which supplies water to large retailers.

Smith told The Guardian his sales were up 500 percent last week, and his supply of 2-liter bottles was completely cleaned out. Shepley Springs has been getting inquiries from retailers they don't normally supply who are worried about a potential shortage.

Business at Tesco stores was also brisk despite a 41-percent increase in the price of water and cola. A spokesman for the chain told the newspaper the higher prices remained a good value for consumers, but some retail analysts said the company might profit now but could pay later if customers feel ripped off.

"Tesco has probably jacked the price up because it's hot and product is going out the door," said Clive Black of Shore Capital. "It has taken a commercial view but it is not necessarily one all its punters will like."

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