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Sustaining Valentine's Day Sales

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So, is green the new red? That's what we're wondering as we look around at the various ways retailers are playing up Valentine's Day 2008. Pesticide-free roses, fair trade chocolates, eco-wines and organic cotton lingerie are just a few of the offerings available to consumers this year.

chocolate.jpgThe National Retail Federation, which tracks holiday activity, reports that people will spend about $123 on Valentine's Day this year, with total sales topping $17 billion. More than 200 million roses are exchanged and 35 million boxes of chocolate are opened; wine is also a big seller. One look at this week's circulars, anywhere in the country, and you know supermarkets get some of the credit for these transactions.

Valentine's Day is an indulgent, romantic holiday. Many consumers are ready to spend (others think they better have). This willingness makes it much easier for retailers to push a big upsell to greener gifts, with their upscale image and better margins. Most manufacturers, processors and distributors already carry 'better-for-you" options in just about every category, including floral, confectionary and alcohol.

Are supermarkets doing all they can to steer sales to more environmentally friendly choices? Consumers have exhibited a wide-ranging sensitivity to issues like sustainability. Phrases like fair trade and organic already resonate with them. The products are available. Retailers only need to play Cupid.

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