News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 9, 2014

Love’s labour’s found

Spending to top $17 billion in hunt for the right gift

TERRE HAUTE — Love is in the air. Flowers are in bloom. Candies are on the shelves.

Many people show their love on Valentine’s Day in meaningful and, sometimes, expensive ways.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average person may spend $133.91 on candy, cards, gifts, dinner and more, up slightly from $130.97 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $17.3 billion.

But fewer people plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, according to the NRF’s 2014 Valentine’s Day spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. Fifty-four percent of Americans will celebrate with their loved ones this year, compared with 60 percent in 2013.

But millions are still going to buy gifts.

Men will spend $108.38 on gifts for their significant others – twice as much as women who will spend $49.41, according to the NRF.

“But Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples,” NRF stated in a release. “People will show their appreciation for family members (59.4 percent), friends (21.7 percent), teachers (20.4 percent) and colleagues (12.1 percent). And like every holiday, Americans won’t forget about their pets. Over 19 percent will buy gifts for their furry friends, spending an average of $5.51.”

But what are they buying?

In locally owned Kadel’s Hallmark Shoppe, at Plaza North Shopping Center, 1800 Fort Harrison Road, consumers have a store full of choices, including candles, chocolates, jewelry and custom gift baskets.

 “We sell a lot of homemade fudge,” said owner Sue McCallum.

Cards are also a popular items, particularly for those last-minute shoppers.

“Cards are the big thing,” McCallum said, adding that men, in particular, try “to find just the right one to say just the right thing.”

Becky Payne, an employee at the store on Friday, said jewelry (including charms), scarves and teddy bears are popular items that men buy for their significant others. Women tend to buy sports-related items, Duck Dynasty items and car accessories for their love.

And fudge.

“They [men] do like candy,” Payne said.

But Willow Tree figurines, which come with inspirational messages, are also popular, Payne said, and are given not only to spouses or significant others but also to kids, parents and friends.

Flowers are another popular gift.

According to the Society of American Florists, Valentine’s Day is the No. 1 holiday for florists. An estimated 233 million roses were produced for Valentine’s Day in 2013, the society said. Most people buy red roses, but many also buy mixed flowers.

The Society of American Florists also said that 25 percent of adults purchased flowers or plants as gifts for Valentine’s Day 2013; of those, 64 percent were men, and 36 percent were women. Men mostly buy for their significant other, but women also tend to buy for their parents, kids and other loved ones.

And a Terre Haute business that many do not necessarily associate with Valentine’s Day shopping has seen some Valentine’s Day shoppers,  although not in big volume.

“People do come in and look at jewelry,” said Dustin Norris, an employee at Pawn It Inc.

“Wives might come in and buy tools for their husbands,” he added.

The store has “a little bit of everything” — video games, tools, electronics — sold at “50 to 60 percent of retail,” so it is a cheaper alternative in these tough economic times, Norris said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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