As sweethearts express their affections today with candy, flowers and sentimental cards, local retailers will be ringing up record Valentine's Day sales.
According to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day this year will spend $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel and more, up from $133.91 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $18.9 billion, a survey high.
"Holidays are definitely our busiest time," said Lisa Fernandes of Lisa's Cookie Jar.
While most (53.2 percent) plan to buy candy for the sweet holiday, spending a total of $1.7 billion, one in five (21.1 percent) plans to buy jewelry for a total of $4.8 billion, the highest amount seen since NRF began tracking spending on Valentine’s gifts in 2010.
Additionally 37.8 percent will buy flowers, spending a total of $2.1 billion, and more than one-third (35.1 percent) will spend on plans for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. Celebrants will also spend nearly $2 billion on clothing and $1.5 billion on the gift that keeps on giving: gift cards.
Business owners may love the bump in sales for Valentine's Day spending, however, the holiday itself has a more romantic legend.
Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced valentine cards in the 1840s — spurring the modern tradition of celebrating the holiday with tokens of love.