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Lovers at a loss for Valentine’s Day


Even love is expected to take a back seat to economic concerns, with several groups reporting that spending related to Valentine’s Day will decline this year.

That’s hardly a shocker, since virtually all consumer spending has been in decline. Spending on Valentines Day merchandise this year is expected to decline to a per person average of $102, compared with nearly $123 last year, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation.

“While some Americans will forgo a gift and opt for quality time at home instead, others will simply set budgets and fixed amounts when exchanging presents,” said Phil Rist, EVP strategic initiatives at BIGresearch, the firm that conducts consumer surveys for NRF. “Valentine’s Day this year will be more about small tokens of affection, rather than extravagant purchases.”

Total Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion, with such traditional favorites as sending a card, dining out, candy, flowers and jewelry accounting for the majority of purchases.

According to IBISWorld, a group that bills itself as the nation’s most respected independent publisher of industry research, Valentine’s Day spending will decline 4.8% this year to $28.6 billion. “Valentine’s Day is more of a discretionary occasion than Christmas and birthdays, which means it will be hit particularly hard by the current economic climate,” said George Van Horn, a senior analyst with the firm. “Overall, dining out is likely to still be the most popular way to indulge a loved one, representing 41% of overall Valentine’s Day sales.”

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