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Valentines warm up sales...

Love is in the air today, but Cupid means business for many. Money is spinning around from the sales of flowers, foods, chocolates, cards and other gift items. It is Valentine's Day.

The celebration gained popularity only in the last few years and is perhaps one of the most celebrated days after religious festivals such as Eid and Christmas.

Local companies including five-star hotels, restaurants, flower shops, card and gift shops, telecom operators, radio stations, bakeries, boutiques, lingerie stores, beauty salons and printing houses are taking care of the courting couples.

MA Awal, sales director of Sonargaon Hotel, said the hotel has already offered Valentine's Day specials, including food promotion and live band show for guests.

“The number of clients at our hotel is increasing every year. This year we have also received good response from our clients for accommodation and dinner reservations and we anticipate more on the day,” he said.
“Sales will almost double on the day. Along with reservation, we get many guests who come to eat out.”

All the five-star hotels are preparing to earn well around Tk 15-20 crore in combined additional revenue on the day, Awal said. “It's not only the upper echelon of the society, people from middle and upper middle-income groups are also in the queue.”
Radisson Water Garden Hotel offers an array of services for couples: candlelit dinners, duo spa dates and welcome drinks.

In recent years most urban couples are moving from traditional gift giving towards dining out, which helps the local restaurants gain brisk sales on the day.

Diners including Pizza Hut, KFC, Bella Italia, Nando's, Coffee World, Flambe, Casablanca and Spaghetti Jazz are ready to pull in the Valentine crowds.

Candies and chocolates remain a must-buy. Rabeya Sulatna, executive of Almas Super Shop, said the sales of chocolate are high.

“All types of chocolate brands -- local or imported -- are generating good sales,” she said.
Chocolate sales centring Valentine's Day generally account for around 15 percent of the total yearly chocolate sales, she said. She refused to disclose the sales figure.

Brands like Cadbury, Aero, Snickers, Maltesers, Twix, Mars, Ferrero Rocher, Meiji Almond, Black Chocolate, Safari and Toffee Crisp are popular, she said.

Greetings card is the oldest agent. Archies Gallery and Hallmark are the two gift outlets that have seen continued growth in sales over the years.

“Although the sales of greetings card are gradually declining, many people still opt for those,” said Monalisa Mita, executive of Archies Gallery at Baridhara, adding that at least 20 percent of the total card revenue comes from Valentine's Day sales.

Last year, the card business bagged around Tk 30 crore, said industry insiders.
Flower shops are also ready. Ferns n Petals, a florist that imports flowers from India and Thailand, has received around 2,500 advance orders for the day.

High-end florists apart, vendors at Shahbagh, Katabon and in the vicinity of the High Court are upbeat on sales.

Around 100 street flower vendors in the areas expect a rise in sales, as the Bangla month of Falgun that brings in spring started yesterday.

“Another contributing factor is the ongoing Ekushey Book Fair, which would increase flower sales,” said Shamsul Ali, a vendor at Shahbagh.

Ali said he sold flowers and bouquets worth Tk 25,000 on the Valentine's Day last year. He expects the figure to rise this year.

Also, most boutiques have launched new collections to celebrate the day and for spring.
Aarong, Kay Kraft, Bibiana, Onnomela, Nipun, Sadakalo and Deshal have come up their collection of saris and other trendy outfits and home décor items.

They are offering attractive discounts on several items. The boutiques are expecting brisk sales.

Beauty salons are also busy these days. Kaya Skin Clinic, a newly launched salon, has offered gift items including skin care products for the clients.

Source: The Daily Star

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2009 ·Shonar Bangla by TNB