One of the most disappointing summers many North Islanders can remember has caused odd buying patterns.

Sales of soup and oats for porridge are up and sunblock and icecream sales are down.

The latest quarterly supermarket figures from New World and Pak'nSave show soup sold 10 per cent better between November and January than it did over the winter months last year. Sales of cold and flu medication were up 24 per cent compared with last summer.

Sunblock sales plunged by 20 per cent and ice cream languished, unwanted, in the freezers, down 10 per cent.


At Countdown, flannelette sheets also sold unusually well and soups and oats sales were up 10 per cent on last summer.

Company spokesman Luke Schepen said soup, breakfast muesli and oats, condensed milk and hosiery typically sold well in winter and not so well in summer. "This year that has changed," he said.

Popular summer products were not performing so well. Schepen said beer, soft drink, bottled water and even lettuce dropped 10 per cent by volume.

Rain and cold temperatures made some summer produce harder to come by. Watermelon and rock melon crops were in short supply and the picking season for other summer fruits was delayed by a month.

Sandi Mulder, 26, who has been indulging in toasted sandwiches and roast dinners this summer, confessed she had no craving for strawberries.

"The weather has been so average, summer fruit just hasn't been on my mind."

Kiri Parker, 46, said she was not surprised to hear about record sales in cold and 'flu medicine.

She had just recovered from a bad cold which kept her off work for three days. She blamed the illness on the weather.