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Valentine's Day spending is expected to rise 8.5%

Americans will spend an average of $126.03 to show their love, for a total of $17.6 billion, the National Retail Federation says.

February 08, 2012|By Matt Stevens, Los Angeles Times
  • A dozen red roses usually costs about $60 but will run about $80 for Valentine's Day, according to the Society of American Florists. Above, Simon Armas carries a bouquet through the downtown L.A. flower district on Valentine's Day in 2011.
A dozen red roses usually costs about $60 but will run about $80 for Valentine's… (Al Seib, Los Angeles Times )

Romance doesn't come cheap — at least not on St. Valentine's Day.

A dozen red roses usually cost about $60, according to the Society of American Florists. But with Valentine's Day coming next week, most people will pay about $80, the trade group said.

And although restaurant prices don't change, people tend to eat at more upscale restaurants for those Valentine's dates. Romantic couples will spend an average of $146.52 on Valentine's dinner dates, according to restaurant ratings guide Zagat, compared with about $70 on a typical meal for two.

"On Valentine's Day, budgets go out the window," Zagat spokeswoman Tiffany Herklots said.

Prices for other Valentine's staples such as chocolates, jewelry and lingerie aren't rising, but consumers shouldn't expect to find many bargains either.

Overall, the average consumer will spend $126.03 on Valentine's Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That's the highest in 10 years, and up 8.5% from 2011 — for a total of $17.6 billion thanks to the improving economy and increased consumer spending power, federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis said.

It's the one time when men don't want to seem like they are pinching pennies.

"It's a holiday that strikes fear and dread in men," said author Carole Townsend, who has written about Valentine's Day. "They're so afraid they're going to mess up no matter what they do. Sometimes they'll confuse the costs of the gift with the meaning of the gift, and they think, 'If you don't know what to do, just throw money at it.'"

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