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Published: 4/22/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Easter spending on the rise

Florists say sales of lilies, other flowers doing well

BY SHEENA HARRISON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Mary Beth Lorenzen creates a flower arrangement at Schramm's Flowers. Sandy Sack, who owns the West Toledo florist shop, says she expects her store to sell out of Easter lilies this year. Mary Beth Lorenzen creates a flower arrangement at Schramm's Flowers. Sandy Sack, who owns the West Toledo florist shop, says she expects her store to sell out of Easter lilies this year.
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Easter lily sales are hopping this year, Toledo-area florists say, reflecting an expected national increase in spending for the holiday.

Sandy Sack, owner of Schramm's Flowers in West Toledo, said she has noticed a "definite improvement" in sales of Easter lilies and other flowers compared to the last couple years. Her store has six Easter lilies left in stock that she expects will sell out before Sunday. "They're doing better than they have previously," said Ms. Sack, whose Easter lilies start at $35. "We're having a good year."

Easter-related spending is expected to increase over last year's sales, according to the National Retail Federation. The average consumer is expected to spend $131 this year on food, candy, clothing, and flowers. That's compared to about $119 per consumer in 2010. Total Easter sales are expected to reach $14.6 billion.

The retail federation says buyers are encouraged in part by Easter-related store promotions, which have been extended because Easter falls later than usual this year.

Frank Viviano, owner of Bartz Viviano Flowers & Gifts, said Easter's late date has helped sales of all fresh-cut flowers at his stores in Toledo and Oregon. Easter lilies, priced $14.95 to $49.95, comprise about 5 to 10 percent of his sales.

"It seems the later Easter is, the better it is," Mr. Viviano said. "So I think as far as how it's going compared to last year, seems things seem to be running a little bit ahead."

Toledo area florists report sales of Easter lilies are better than last year. Toledo area florists report sales of Easter lilies are better than last year.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Most of Bartz Viviano's Easter sales happen the Friday and Saturday before the holiday. Mr. Viviano hopes the uptick in Easter sales will carry on past this weekend.

"It's more of a spring holiday now," he said. "People send spring flowers of all sorts."

David Swesey, owner of David Swesey Florist in Maumee, said Easter lily sales have stayed relatively consistent from a year ago.

The store started out with about three dozen lilies ranging from $12 to $35 and had four left Thursday afternoon.

Bulb plants and colorful fresh-cut flowers have been popular with Mr. Swesey's customers. He said he believes that trend will continue into Mother's Day.

"Usually, if Easter's a little off, Mother's Day is really good," he said.

Contact Sheena Harrison at: sharrison@theblade.com or 419-724-6103.



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