By Abbey Gray
LEEDS-BASED retailers say they are expecting to see benefits to their businesses from Valentine’s Day sales.
Wendy Irvine runs Leeds House of Flowers with her daughter Jess and expects to be very busy in the run up to Valentine’s Day.
The shop, on Otley Road, opened in 1968 as a florist and has been run by Wendy for 13 years.
House of Flowers buy their produce from a Dutch auction and they are transported fresh to the shop and to other florists throughout the country.
Wendy said: “Everything we sell has to be fresh. Red roses are still the most popular flowers, with lilies a close second.”
Their Valentine’s bouquets range from £22, for a single red rose in a vase, to £80 for oriental white lilies in vase.
House of Flowers also provide balloons, chocolates and teddies to accompany their bouquets.
On average, 180 million cards are exchanged throughout the UK on Valentine’s Day.
Susan Verity, owner of Cards Etc in Horsforth, says she has seen a slight decline in the volume of card sales and believes this is due to the high rise in online sales.
Susan said: “But I have seen an increase in average spending on quality cards, especially handmade or those that look a little different.”
Ten Facts about Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day was originally a day to celebrate Saint Valentinus who performed weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry.
Around one billion cards are exchanged each year.
220,000 is the average number of proposals each year on Valentine’s Day.
Flower prices usually increase by around 30%.
Around 3% of pet owners give valentines gifts to their pets.
189 million red roses are sold.
Richard Cadbury produced the first box of valentine’s chocolates in the late 1800s.
More than 35 million boxes of heart shaped chocolates will be sold.
On average men spend double the amount of money on gifts than women do.
In Finland, Valentine’s day is called Ystävänpäivä which means ‘friends’ day’ and is more about remembering friends than loved ones.
Candy and chocolate are popular gifts that 47% of people buy for someone for Valentine’s day.
Becky Abbiss owner of With Love Card & Gift Shop , which is established as a premier specialist card and gift shop, based in Oakwood, Leeds, believes chocolates are their bestseller.
She said: “We sell so many varying gifts for Valentine’s Day it’s hard to specify which items sell the best, but I think if I’m being really honest, it’s probably our chocolates as they are suitable for both males and females.”
With Love Card & Gift Shop also has a large range of cards that cover Husband, Wife, Partner, other half, One I Love, Someone Special, Fiancé, Boyfriend and Girlfriend.
They also stock humorous, cute, to the new Mr & Mrs cards, cards for friends and offer a huge range of general Valentine’s cards.
Becky says she always receives an increase in sales around Valentine’s Day, but believes people are buying gifts later than usual.
She said: “Purchasing is becoming very last minute as opposed to three years ago when people would have bought cards earlier, now they leave it until the week before.
“Our overall takings for Valentine’s Day haven’t noticeably increased over the years, it’s usually very similar each year.
“I think it’s one of those occasions you either celebrate of you don’t.”
Valentine’s events in Leeds
Crowd of Flavours on Harper Street in Leeds is holding a speed dating event called ‘ditch or date.’ Tickets are £12 and the event runs from 8pm-10pm. It offers a chance to meet up to 20 singles. Girls are seated and guys rotate around giving you a chance to meet everyone. The following day you receive a text or email if you have any matches.
The Wire Club on Call Lane is hosting a Single Ladies Valentine’s Day Special. Tickets are £5 and the event is from 11pm-3am. It promises to be a night of grime, hip hop and R&B female artists.
The yearly Valentine Family Fair returns to Leeds between February 9-19. It’s located in Elland Road carpark alongside Leeds United Football Club. The fair was Europe’s first and largest Valentine’s fair and began 25 years ago. Admission is £1 and ride prices begin at £1.50. The fair is supporting Martin House Hospice which supports children and young people with progressive life threatening illnesses and provides support for their families.