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NRF: Valentine’s Day spending lower this year, but traditional gift purchases remain popular

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON It seems that couples plan on reining in their spending this Valentine’s Day, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.

According to NRF’s 2010 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, couples will spend an average of $63.34 on gifts for their significant other or spouse, compared with $67.22 last year. The average person will shell out $103.00 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, similar to last year’s $102.50.

Such traditional gifts as greeting cards and candy are projected to account for up 54.9% and 47.2%, respectively, of Valentine’s Day spending, remaining the most popular gift choices. Additionally, when it comes to where people will shop, most will head to discount stores (40.9%).

“While some may view Valentine’s Day as cliche, many people still look forward to giving significant others, friends, family and even pets something special,” said Tracy Mullin, president and CEO, NRF. “Rather than not give anything at all, consumers will instead focus on small, thoughtful gifts for the people who mean the most to them this year.”

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Mars rolls out new 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp

BY Allison Cerra

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Mars has launched its newest chocolate bar, featuring whipped truffle and elegant airy crisp that is “rich enough to share, but you really won’t want to.”

The new 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp bar  is making its debut this week at select supermarkets, convenience stores, and various mass retailers nationwide. The launch will be supported by a national marketing campaign with the tagline “rich enough to share, but you really won’t want to.” The campaign will include print and TV advertising, public relations, sampling and digital activation.

“We are excited to introduce 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp to the snack food category,” said Carole Walker, VP integrated marketing communications for Mars Chocolate North America. “The new addition to the 3 Musketeers family provides the signature light texture components of the 3 Musketeers bar now with an added airy crispy twist.”

The suggested retail price of a single serve pack (2 bars) is 79 cents.

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PepsiCo ‘rings’ in February at NYSE

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK PepsiCo visited the New York Stock Exchange Monday morning to ring the opening bell and highlight its financial initiative known as the Pepsi Refresh Project.

In an effort to support those who generate innovative, optimistic ideas, the Pepsi Refresh Project will award more than $20 million in 2010 to move communities forward. Individuals can apply for grants to benefit a variety of projects, and site visitors can vote for the best ideas for funding. The project is an evolution of the Refresh Everything initiative Pepsi launched in 2009, which showed the brand as an optimistic catalyst for idea creation, leading to an ever-refreshing world. Pepsi will fund projects that make a difference in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education.

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