Springfield, MO

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Dan Austin of Hurts Donut Co. is dressed as Cupid to deliver Valentine’s doughnuts Feb. 13 at the Missouri Air National Guard in Springfield.
Photo provided by Hurts Donut Co.
Dan Austin of Hurts Donut Co. is dressed as Cupid to deliver Valentine’s doughnuts Feb. 13 at the Missouri Air National Guard in Springfield.

Retail sales lukewarm for Valentine’s Day

Posted online

Consumers were expected to set a record for Valentine’s Day spending this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

The NRF released a 2020 Valentine’s Day Spending Survey in January, which indicated those celebrating the holiday – roughly 55% of survey participants – were expected to spend an average of $196 for the day – 21% higher than 2019 sales. Spending was expected to total $27.4 billion nationwide. National spending for the holiday had not been released by press time.

However, local retailers say Springfieldians didn’t rise to the occasion. Sales for many remained flat or showed slight growth this year despite projections of increased spending nationwide.

Flat sales
Josh Jones, co-owner of Linda’s Flowers Inc., said he was anticipating a busy Valentine’s Day weekend, but sales grew by less than 2% this year.

“It was a little disappointing that it wasn’t crazy,” Jones said, declining to disclose sales figures. “The industry said that because it was on a Friday, plan for a 20% uptick. That was not the case.”

On a weekly basis, Jones said the average bouquet sale is around $68, but for Valentine’s Day, the receipts were around $100 apiece.

The NRF reported 37% of consumers planned to purchase flowers for their significant others.

However, the perennial choice may have lost some luster.

“We didn’t sell as many roses,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s because it’s expensive this time of year. The only flower that costs more on Valentine’s Day is a rose because of supply and demand.”

While the shop did sell out of red roses, about 500 mixed-color roses remained, which usually isn’t the case. He said a second flower option, the Stargazer lily, is emerging.

Slight uptick
At Maxon’s Fine Jewelry, co-owner Rick McElvaine said sales were up slightly this year.

“It was a good season, but it wasn’t unbelievable,” he said. “The traffic was similar to last year, but the average ticket was a little higher.”

Declining to disclose revenue from the holiday, McElvaine said the jewelry store doesn’t run specials for Valentine’s Day to drive traffic. This year, he said sales of diamond earrings and pendants increased for the holiday.

Over 20% of consumers planned to purchase jewelry for the holiday, according to the NRF.

“Some years, we will see an uptick in engagement rings for the romantics that are pulling the trigger on Valentine’s Day. That wasn’t the case this year,” McElvaine said.

The NRF also pointed to candy and treats as a popular gift, with over 50% of survey respondents planning something sweet.

At Hurts Donut Co., owner Tim Clegg said doughnut deliveries drove sales this year.

Hurts Donut sells time slots throughout the day when customers can order doughnuts delivered by a person dressed as Cupid – diaper-wearing and winged.

The Cupid at times also sings, dances, plays music and throws rose petals during the theatrical delivery. The company hired extra people to play Cupid this year and was able to make six deliveries per hour each day from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14, he said.

“It’s one of those times where we get a lot of attention online,” Clegg said, pointing to video posts of the Cupid deliveries. “Valentine’s Day is typically one of our busiest days of the year. … It’s one of those holidays that’s centered around treats, and we definitely play into the theme.”


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