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by Adrianne Pasquarelli
CrainsNewYork.com

Hearts will be swelling this Valentine’s Day, and so will cash registers. Consumers are expected to spend $116.21 apiece on merchandise for the holiday this year, an 11% jump over last year, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. Cupid’s favorite day should ring in about $15.7 billion in total spending as shoppers who previously cut back return to spending, bolstered by improvements to the economy.

“Having surpassed expectations during the holiday season, it seems consumers are not done spending on gifts,” said NRF Chief Executive Matthew Shay in a statement. “Jewelry, candy and apparel sales should provide a nice boost for retailers during the typically slower months of January and February.”

Local retailers that specialize in Valentine’s Day gifts like flowers and chocolate are gearing up for the influx of shoppers. At Red Rose & Lavender, a three-year-old business in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, business is expected to increase 15% to 20% this February, according to owner Kimberly Sevilla.

“A lot of people have been contacting me about Valentine’s Day now. In the past, they haven’t done that so early,” she said. She noted that the company has several different arrangements, ranging in price from $65 to $150, for the holiday. Red Rose also recently began offering a subscription service for monthly flowers, which Ms. Sevilla expects to be a big seller on Feb. 14. The majority of her arrangements are eclectic and non-traditional, with extras like vintage milk-glass vases and blackberries rather than red roses in a vase.

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