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Businesses sweet on Valentine’s Day plans

Posted On: 02-07-2016

By Andres David Lopez

Daily News Staff Writer

Sales of chocolate-covered strawberries, red roses and necklaces will likely hit a peak this week, as local businesses match demand for Valentine’s Day gifts.

Nationwide, 55 percent of consumers will celebrate the holiday and spend an average of $147 on flowers, jewelry, candy and dates for their loved ones, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Survey released Wednesday.

Here on the island, business owners have been planning for months in the hopes of maximizing their share of holiday profits.

The staff at Flowers of Worth was already in full Valentine’s Day mode last week. The holiday ranks first in the shop in terms of sales. Faith Murray, the owner, has carefully studied data from last year to help predict what her customers will want this year.

Red roses sold the most, followed by white, yellow and pink roses, Murray said. To be ready for Feb. 14 and secure plenty of Mondial Roses, which are known for their high petal counts and sturdy stems, she placed orders to wholesalers weeks in advance.

“What I’m most concerned about being in Palm Beach is quality,” she said.

It is estimated that Americans will spend $1.9 billion on flowers and $1.7 billion on candy for Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation’s survey. Prosper Insights & Analytics conducted the poll of 7,293 people last month.

At Peterbrooke Chocolatier on Royal Poinciana Way, manager Mary Jane Morris is awaiting a delivery of at least 70 pounds of strawberries on Thursday so that she can fulfill her chocolate-covered strawberry orders for Friday.

Her employees will work more hours than usual this week to ramp up production of handmade items.

“Christmas is like a marathon, because it is a month-long holiday, but Valentine’s Day is a big holiday in a short period of time,” Morris said.

One in five Americans celebrating the holiday will purchase jewelry, spending an estimated $4.4 billion nationwide. Hamilton Jewelers on Worth Avenue has hosted several events as part of its marketing plan ahead of the weekend.

“Valentine’s Day has become more important over the years,” said Donna Bouchard, president of the New Jersey-based company. “We want to build relationships so it’s a perfect venue for us to do that.”

Twenty-four percent of those surveyed said they planned to give a gift of an experience to a loved one, such as concert tickets or spa services.

The spa at Eau Palm Beach is offering an Italian-themed couple’s massage dubbed “I Cannoli Love You!” and a caviar and champagne package that costs $1,100 per couple.

Area resorts are attracting high occupancy rates. The Chesterfield is currently at 95 percent occupancy for the weekend. To celebrate the holiday, the hotel has added red gel to LED lights and created a red-and-pink atmosphere, said Karina Schultheis, hotel spokeswoman.

At The Colony, the occupancy rate for the weekend is expected to be higher than last year’s 80 percent, said Marta Weinstein, director of marketing and sales. This year, it’s booked at 89 percent. The hotel’s Polo Lounge will host Bill Mays on the piano for a jazz brunch, and there will be romantic table-side offerings, Weinstein said.

The Brazilian Court is expected to be sold out for the weekend, said Nadia Mehriary, hotel spokeswoman.

Eau Palm Beach also is close to being sold out for the weekend, said Nick Gold, resort spokesman.

“Valentine’s Day, make no bones about it, everyone wants to have a special staycation or maybe they are traveling in from other parts of the country, maybe from the Northeast to get away from the cold,” Gold said. “This is a big destination.”




Source: Andres David Lopez, February 7, 2016, Palm Beach Daily News

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