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Published: Saturday, 2/9/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Valentine's Day celebration falling in middle of the week typically means stronger sales

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Local retailers say they expect to find a lot to love about the upcoming Valentine’s Day celebration.

First, the annual day of honoring one’s sweetheart falls on a Thursday and Valentine’s Day falling on a weekday is always a good thing, retailers say, because couples are pressed for time and usually resort to buying gifts, rather than going out to celebrate.

Second, the economy appears to be rebounding, so retailers are hoping that will include extra spending on flowers, candy, and jewelry. The National Retail Federation predicts a 4 percent increase in spending this year, with the average person spending $130.97, up from $126.03 in 2011. It predicts total spending will be $18.6 billion, an increase of 5.7 percent over last year.

Lastly, the weather forecast for Thursday looks good — 43 and partly sunny. Toledo-area retailers are not looking to repeat their 2007 disaster when a surprise storm dumped 13 inches of snow on Valentine’s Day, killing last-minute sales, romantic dinners at restaurants, and forestalling flower deliveries.

“As of today, things are looking great,” Elizabeth DeLapp, operations manager for Bartz-Viviano Flowers & Gifts in Toledo, said Friday, just before her last truckload of Valentine’s Day roses, orchids, and daisies arrived.

“A midweek Valentine’s Day is always good for flower sales. If it falls on a weekend, couples have time to go to a show and to dinner, but because it falls on a Thursday, people will be crunched for time,” she said.

Ms. DeLapp said the average customer spends between $80 to $100 on flowers. The florist is gearing up for 900 deliveries on Thursday, or 10 times its normal business.

The retail federation predicts about 37 percent people will buy flowers. Candy will be the most widely purchased gift at 51 percent.

At Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Perrysburg, owner Gordon Ebright, began placing orders for Valentine’s Day merchandise in December and has been busy for days making specialty items. He expects a busy Tuesday, a busier Wednesday, and a crazy Thursday.

“It’s kind of early to tell yet how big it will be, but yes, next week is the big week,” Mr. Ebright said. “We ordered a lot of new things this year — a silhouette heart box all made of chocolate and a tuxedo box made of chocolate. We have some very unique items this year,” he added.

About 20 percent of gift givers splurge on jewelry, and local jeweler David Fairclough of David Fairclough Fine Jewelers in Sylvania Township prepared for next week by ordering an extra shipment of HeartStar heart-shaped diamonds. He has been promoting the item and expects demand to be strong.

“Really, this year’s gotten off to good start. We saw a 46 percent increase in sales in January,” Mr. Fairclough said. “And Valentine’s is usually a busy week. We’ve already seen some early shoppers.”

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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