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Vale­ntine's spending sweeter this year

Consumers to spend average of $126.03 on swee­thearts

SAN ANTONIO - Cupid means business. 

Consumers will be feeling the love this Valentine's Day, spending more this year than in the last decade, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

Average spending among those who celebrate Valentine's Day will be $126.03, 8.5 percent more than last year.

Cupid's arrow seems pointed right at shoppers' wallets, and Cynthia McSwain is smitten.

"It's a happy holiday, " she said. "It's about nothing but love, caring and happiness."  However, married 35 years and working in the floral business, she won't be spending as much as the national average.

While some spending is on classrooms, family and friends, the majority is on significant others.  And while jewelry reigns as the big spender item, the flower business will be abloom.

While a dozen professionally -arranged red roses can easily run $100 or more, do-it-yourselfers can pick up a dozen to go for $20 at San Antonio Flower Co.

Jerry King, manager of the Broadway location,  said people are buying early this year.

"If you're the first man to deliver to your wife at the office, then you're a winner," he said.

Men are the winners, expected to outspend women by almost double.

That surprised Lea Rios.

"I guess they want to make up for all year," she said.

Even the family pet will be getting some special lovin' as 20 percent of consumers said they would pick up a little something for their furry little valentine.

"Valentine's Day is like any other day with our pets. We have to pamper them," said Diana Ferrar, owner of Fifi and Fidos on Broadway.

Her boutique displayed pink tutus and heart-shaped squeaky toys.

For consumers not wanting to break their budget or somebody's heart, candy can be a sweet option.

At Violet Talk on N. New Braunfels, shoppers could get a violent plant for $9.99 and a personalized heart-shaped box of fudge for $6 to $18.

If that's too rich, a tiny box of chocolates at Family Dollar cost, you guessed it, $1.  And, you can throw in a red heart-shaped, helium-filled balloon for another $2.

As for Luis Slim, married with 4 children; he was peddling free  sweet sentiments.

"I try to spend every day like Valentine's Day with my wife," he said.



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