Valentine’s Day sales hit a thorny patch (Poll Inside)

Love me, love me not: A pair looking at bouquets. Flower sales for Valentine’s Day have not been great this year, according to vendors. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Even romance appears to be on holiday as florists say that their sales for Valentine’s Day have dropped by almost half compared to last year.

“Valentine’s Day is usually the time when we will be able to enjoy brisk sales... that has not been the case this year as most of our customers are still in their hometowns for the holidays,” said florist June Lim, 37.

As she pointed out, the occasion coincided with the welcoming of the Chinese New Year, which is just into its fifth day today.

Lim said the Valentine sales at her two shops had dipped by nearly half compared to the previous year.

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“Even online sales have not been doing well as many people have yet to return to work.

“In the past, we would get orders for flowers to be sent to offices for Valentine’s Day if it fell on a weekday,” she said.

However, Lim said the slow sales for Valentine’s Day were expected.

As such, she said that some florists had opted to sell artificial flowers made of soap instead of fresh ones to avoid waste.

“I ordered about half the number of real flowers this year compared to previous years as they could only remain fresh for a few days.”

“That is why the soap flowers, which have been quite popular lately, have come in handy as we can keep them for as long as we need them,” she said.

Lim said that some couples could be celebrating the special occasion this weekend instead of the actual date today.

“There is a chance that we will see more sales later, especially when people are back from their hometowns by then,” she said.

She added that some prefer to buy flowers after Valentine’s Day when the blooms are back to being sold at the normal rate.

“This has been the trend in previous years as well,” she added.

Florist Ng Kok Yeo, 46, said this is not the first time the two celebrations has happened during the same period.

“Every few years, we will see Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day taking place at the same time. We will see slow sales then.”

“I anticipated this. So I ordered about 30% fewer flowers than usual for this Valentine’s Day.”

However, he conceded that he did not expect such poor sales this time around.

“There may be some who will buy flowers for their special ones later but the chances of that happening are pretty low based on my experience,” he said.

On the other hand, Ng said sales for the Lunar New Year, which peaked in the last few days before the festival, had been very encouraging.

“Thankfully, sales were good for Chinese New Year.

“At least that could make up for the slow Valentine’s Day sales,” he said.

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