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Valentine’s Day means big sales for some retailers

By Angela Holmes, Corridor Business Journal | February 10, 2015 |

Expressing your love on Valentine’s Day is big business.
According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, total spending in the United States is expected to reach $18.9 billion this year. Most people surveyed (53.2 percent) plan to buy candy, spending a total of $1.7 billion. Additionally, 37.8 percent will buy flowers, spending a total of $2.1 billion.
Retailers in the Corridor are preparing to capitalize on the rush of shoppers.
“We have the same amount of sales in that one week that we do in the whole month of December,” said Gae Sharp-Richardson, co-owner of THE chocolate SHOP, 1244 Seventh Ave., Marion.
Ms. Sharp-Richardson’s preparation includes looking at records from the past three years to determine how much chocolate to make and what hours to keep the store open. The shop will have extended hours the week of Valentine’s Day, she said, although she noted that staff will stop making chocolate several days before the holiday so they can concentrate on the retail side of the business.
While heart-shaped boxes and chocolates are available in the shop, Ms. Sharp-Richardson encourages customers to call ahead to order. Chocolate has a longer shelf life than baked goods, she said.
“It tastes the same a week later,” she explained. “It doesn’t help to wait until the last minute.”

Maja Hunt, store manager at Every Bloomin’ Thing, 2 Rocky Shore Drive, Iowa City, also plans ahead for Valentine’s Day, which along with Mother’s Day, is the flower shop’s busiest time. Her Valentine’s preparations include pre-ordering 650 roses in January.

“When it’s gone, it’s gone,” she said of the rose supply.
Several days before the holiday, the staff usually takes the phone off the hook to concentrate on orders that have already been made, Ms. Hunt said.
Although more expensive than other flowers, red roses remain the most popular.

“That’s what people associate Valentine’s Day and true love with,” she said.
Along with candy and flowers, a special night out also tops the list of Valentine’s traditions.

More than one-third (35.1 percent) of those responding in the National Retail Federation’s survey are planning a night out, spending $3.6 billion. The National Restaurant Association reports that more than 70 million Americans will celebrate Valentine’s Day at a restaurant this year.

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