Valentine's Day Sales Slow Down This Year, but Not by Much

Love is in the air, but cash gets the squeeze.

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Love is in the air, but cash gets a slight squeeze. Consumers plan to spend an average $102.50 on Valentine's Day gifts and merchandise, versus $122.08 per person last year, according to the National Retail Federation's 2009 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey. Total Valentine's Day spending is expected to reach $14.7 billion.

People will continue to spend on traditional Valentine's gifts, including jewelry, flowers, and greeting cards. Sixteen percent will purchase jewelry, compared with 16.6 percent last year, and 35.7 percent will buy flowers versus 35.9 percent in 2008. "A bad economy won't stop Cupid this Valentine's Day, but it might slow him down," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin.

According to the survey, the majority of people (90.8 percent) will spend the most on their spouse ($67.22), with other family members such as children getting about one fifth of their budget ($20.95). Consumers will also spend on friends ($4.74), children's classmates/teachers ($3.59), coworkers ($1.94), and pets ($2.17).