The bigger picture of Valentine’s Day

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For retailers across the country Valentine’s is much more than a day of romance, it is an opportunity to boost sales after the January lull. It could be considered especially important this year owing to many retailers revealing disappointing Christmas sales during the 2014 holiday season. The value of retail sales in Scotland’s shops declined by 1.8% in December, Sainsbury’s announced its worst Christmas sales for a decade and Tiffany & Co.’s stock plunged 14% upon announcing disenchanting results over Christmas. So can retailers look to Valentine’s Day for some reprieve or will their struggle continue?

Recent projections suggest that the former is very much on the cards. A nationwide survey found that the UK is expected to spend around £500 million on Valentine’s gifts this year. The research also shows that London is predicted to contribute around one fifth of the total spend on gifts, and that on average men will spend more than women this holiday.

Dining out is predicted to remain the biggest source of spending on 14th February. Current forecasts suggest that over £50 million will be spent on dining. The second biggest spend is often jewellery, which is also expected to be one of the most favoured last minute purchases. Some other popular gifts include flowers, perfume, aftershave, champagne and a night away.

A similar story can be seen across the pond, although stateside predictions seem to be more optimistic. Consumers in the US are expected to spend big this year on sweets, jewellery and flowers. The average person is predicted to spend approximately $140, a significant $8 more than last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Buying cards for loved ones is also big business in the US serving as the second biggest card-sending occasion of the year, losing out only to Christmas. All in all, Americans are predicted to spend an enormous $18.9 billion this Valentine’s Day.

However, it is not only loved ones that should be looking forward to the most romantic day of the year in the States. Sources estimate that a whopping $703 million will be spent on pets alone. A recent survey revealed that one in five people want to include their furry friends in the festivities.

It seems that retailers have reason to believe that the upcoming surge of spending may help compensate for their lowly fourth quarter returns. Yet it is almost certain that these businesses will wait to see if the positive sales estimates become a reality before announcing how they intend to regain their prior success. In the short term, it seems that consumers are likely to benefit the most. With the stores preoccupied with outcompeting each other, romantics might be in for a cheaper and cheerier Valentine’s Day this year.

 

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