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Shoppers Rush To Buy Appliances With Rebate

April 16, 2010

By SANDRA GUY Staff Reporter

Illinois' rebate money for energy-efficient appliances is quickly running out, a retail official said today.

But at least one retailer, Abt Electronics, will continue to offer the 15-percent rebate on qualified appliances for a few days anyway, company President Mike Abt said.

As of 3:15 p.m., more than $4 million, or about two-thirds of the state's $6.2 million total, had been given out, said David Vite, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which represents the 656 retailers statewide participating in the program.

"There's little doubt we'll run out today," he said. "Based on sales, it's clear that Illinois is a consumer-friendly state when it comes to appliance rebates." Vite said that Illinois is the only state to offer percentage-off instant rebates at the sales counter for the federal stimulus money for new, Energy Star-qualified refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and room air-conditioners for home use.

The retailers participating in the rebate program statewide had sold $27 million worth of appliances in the first seven hours of the program today, Vite said.

Abt said the Glenview store had sold more appliances by 10:30 a.m. than it had sold in its entire 73-year history. The privately held retailer doesn't reveal sales numbers.

"We had more than 1,000 people lined up this morning, including a few who were here at 4 a.m. with lawn chairs," Mike Abt said.

Illinois started the program with $12.4 million, part of which went to an earlier series of rebates encouraging people to buy water heaters. The state had capped the appliance rebates that started today at $400 due to concerns that it would run out of money.

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