Valentine’s Day and Catalogers: Better Late Than Never

Christmas isn’t the only holiday for which consumers put off shopping till the last minute. Catalogers selling candy, jewelry, and other gifts report that Valentine’s Day orders on a whole came in later this year than in years past.

At Hershey, PA-based chocolates manufacturer/marketer Hershey’s, “purchasing was still going strong up through the last two weeks before the holiday,” says spokesperson Judy Hogarth. Hershey’s saw double-digit Valentine’s sale growth from last year on an undisclosed increase in catalog circulation.

Orders at Uncommon Goods, a gifts merchant, came in slightly closer to the holiday than they had last year, says founder/CEO David Bolotsky. The New York-based company guaranteed Valentine’s Day delivery of orders placed by Feb. 8.

Customers of Personal Creations not only shopped closer to the holiday, but they also did more of their ordering online, says director of marketing Judy Nelson. Valentine’s sales for the Burr Ridge, IL-based gifts merchant were “above last year and above expectations,” Nelson says. “We had no change in circulation, but we did change the promos for our Web buyers.”

The vast majority of the multichannel merchants contacted by CATALOG AGE reported a year-over-year rise in Valentine’s Day sales. But at least one marketer, New York-based food and floral gifts merchant Manhattan Fruiter, believes that consumers’ tendency to wait till the last minute hurt direct marketers. “I think the real issue this year was the timing of the holiday, falling on a Monday, which created difficulty shipping last-minute gifts,” says owner Jehv Gold. Men, who account for a significant portion of Valentine’s Day expenditures, are notorious last-minute shoppers, says Gold, and so they took advantage of the weekend to dash into stores rather than order remotely and pay expedited shipping costs.

For more on how marketers fared during the Valentine’s season, see the April issue of CATALOG AGE.

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