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Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Predicting Valentine’s Day spending

February 1, 2010

VALENTINE-BRUSSELS/Check out differing projections for spending on Valentine’s Day.

For you romantics out there who gauge the strength of your love by an annual showering of flowers, chocolate and jewelry on Valentine’s Day — you might want to adjust your expectations.

This year, couples plan to spend an average of $63.34 on gifts for their significant other or spouse, down nearly 6 percent from $67.22 last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2010 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. At the same time, the average person plans to spend $5.37 on their friends, up 13 percent from $4.74 last year.

The survey also found people plan to spend more on classmates and teachers, co-workers and pets.

“While some may view Valentine’s Day as cliche, many people still look forward to giving significant others, friends, family and even pets something special,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF’s president and CEO in a statement. “Rather than not give anything at all, consumers will instead focus on small, thoughtful gifts for the people who mean the most to them this year.”

The NRF predicted total holiday spending will reach $14.1 billion.

Yet another, more optimistic survey from research firm IBISWorld predicted that total Valentine’s Day spending will be up 3.3 percent from last year, reaching $17.6 billion. The caveat here though is that since the holiday falls on a Sunday, more of the spending will move from traditional gift-giving toward dining out.

“Because Valentine’s Day lands on a Sunday, restaurants are likely to gain traffic throughout the entire weekend,” said Toon van Beek, an analyst with IBISWorld in a statement. “Furthermore, because President’s Day is on the following Monday, many consumers will be able to travel over the three-day weekend, further boosting restaurant sales.”

IBISWorld predicted that U.S. consumers will spend 8.2 percent more on dining out and 2.3 percent more on romantic getaways, and that spending on traditional gifts like jewelry and flowers will each fall nearly 5 percent.

Whatever your significant other does, just remember: It’s the thought that counts.

Also in the basket:  

Bloomingdale’s opens first non-U.S. store in Dubai

Alberto Culver profit tops expectations

Amazon gives in to Macmillan on e-book pricing

(Photo: Reuters)

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