PMA interviewed twelve retailers representing national and regional supermarket chains in the U.S. to determine floral sales during the Valentine’s Day holiday. Among the findings it was found that the U.S. supermarket floral industry had strong sales for Valentine’s Day with several categories performing well, but experienced challenges with severe weather and transportation logistics.
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Retailers reported that floral sales met and exceeded expectations in those regions not affected by winter weather. On average retailers reported that sales were up 14% over last year.
Sales were more spread out during the week of Valentine’s Day than in the past. This year supermarkets recorded that on average 43% of the total Valentine’s Day sales occurred on the holiday rather than 50% occurring on the actual holiday in previous years. The day after the holiday had less volume than past Valentine’s Days.
Additionally, with Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, sales were high throughout the entire weekend. Sunday sales looked like Saturday sales and exceeded normal Sunday holiday sales in previous years. Specifically, sales numbers saw sell through at 85 to 95% on all cut flowers.
Retailers reported that all categories, except outdoor plants and bulbs, gained in sales and contributed to the floral department dollar growth. Additionally, increased distribution velocity was seen in all categories except for outdoor plants and bulbs.
Roses experienced the highest dollar gain followed by potted plants and arrangements. Other categories that saw significant growth included:
Giftables, candy and home fragrance
Most retailers reported that traffic counts were up. The regions that had weather issues experienced increased traffic until the weather-related incidents occurred. In some areas, traffic was up due to expected bad weather that did not happen.
Only a few retailers reported traffic was down, but those retailers also indicated that floral sales and baskets sizes were up compensating for the reduced traffic.
General Comments and Challenges
Growers had some challenges in fulfilling orders. Airfare was a struggle for fresh cuts coming out of South America. Product was held at the ports due to slower than expected inspections. These challenges carried over to moving product to the warehouse. Deliveries were late or shipped short. It created extra work in the stores with scheduling in store help.
Weather was an issue in multiple states with snow, ice, power outages, and stores closed starting Saturday the 13th. While the weather challenges created issues with consumers and workers alike getting to the store, it also added to increased sales and increased traffic throughout the weekend as people flooded supermarkets in preparation for the storms.
Supermarkets had some logistic issues, but they did not hamper sales. Some supermarkets lacked product after Valentine’s Day. In some cases, COVID-19 cases made distribution to the stores a challenge. Overtime was incurred with fewer people working. Social distancing for the holiday were executed to allow for smoother flow of traffic.