Men bearing brunt of high cost of love

Filed under: News |

The Opus wine label is available at Vintages for $150 a bottle.

The Beatles sang “all you need is love,” but on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t hurt to bring along roses, chocolate and jewelry.
Consumers are preparing for Cupid’s holiday, expecting to spend an average of $100.80 on Feb. 14 – doling out cash for everything from greeting cards to diamond jewelry.
But for men, the cost of showing their love is increasing. According to the National Retail Federation, the average man is expected to spend $137.50 for Valentine’s Day, while women are spending $68.64. Across the nation, consumers are expected to spend $13.7 billion this Valentine’s Day, a slight increase from the $13.19 billion spent last year.
And while flowers are always popular, a survey conducted by BIGresearch, shows that more men plan to buy jewelry this year than ever before.
So, what can guys buy for $137.50?
At Terra Verde, you can buy a suede jacket for $140, or pick up some custom-made jewelry. Garnets, said saleswoman Becky Taggert, are especially popular.
“They’re red, so they go over well at Valentine’s Day,” she said. “We also sell handmade jewelry made by Ayala Bar. She’s from Israel, and makes just wonderful pieces. Of course, we’re always willing to help men make just the right purchase.”
The colorful pieces of jewelry are sometimes more than $137, and Taggert said men often pair their jewelry purchases with boxes of handmade chocolate from Michelle Chocolatier’s.
“Sometimes, they come in and buy a thong or some lingerie to go in with the box of candy,” she said. “We see a lot of candy boxes from Michelle’s come in just before Valentine’s Day.”
For guys who are at a complete loss for gifts, Terra Verde also provides gift certificates, wrapped in a gold box and tied with red and pink ribbons.
Chocolates from Michelle’s range in price from $22.50 for a small heart-shaped box to $108 for a four-pound box. Truffles, always popular at the store, start at $33.50.
“And there’s enough room in the truffle boxes to tuck in a jewelry box,” hinted Happy Maguire, a saleswoman at Michelle’s. “People come in and buy things to ship around the country. We had one family who used to live here and moved to Georgia. They started a tradition with our chocolates on Valentine’s Day and now we’re shipping them four boxes of chocolate. These four boxes equal about $100.”
Chocolates from Michelle’s are just part of the 36 million boxes of candy sent last year for Valentine’s Day, according to the NRF.
Valentine’s Day has become big business for small retailers. According to a Dollar Days survey, half of the respondents said the holiday was bigger than Mother’s Day.
The survey also showed that unmarried couples score bigger than their married counterparts: 43 percent are buying for a partner; while only 26 percent said they are buying for a spouse.
Valentine’s Day is the second busiest day for restaurants. More than one-third of the state’s residents are expected to dine out on the 14th – spending nearly $100 million.
“We expect Valentine’s Day dining in Colorado to be higher than the national average, as Colorado ranks fifth out of 50 states in restaurant sales growth,” said Pete Meersman, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association. “Based on national estimates, and considering Colorado’s population of 4.6 million, we figure diners here will spend about $99.8 million in restaurants this Valentine’s Day.”
But for those who want something a little different than the average gifts of chocolate, dinner, jewelry or flowers, the boutique shops on Tejon Street offer items for nearly every budget. Big sellers at Mt. Tejon Gifts are belts studded with semi-precious stones: garnets, turquoise and amethysts.
“These range in price from $65 to $185,” said owner Susan Manis. “But a big favorite for Valentine’s Day is much less expensive. We have faux fur aprons, dyed red, that are a big seller. They are about $28.”
Manis also sells handmade jewelry by a local craftswoman. The jewelry – necklaces and earring sets – are available for just under $100 each, she said.
At Saboz, men can buy everything from handbags to scarves. The big Valentine’s Day seller is Skagin watches for women. The watches, owner Linda Bridger said, range from $95 to $120 and are available in cute, feminine colors.
Saboz, while known for its shoe selection, also has necklaces, earrings and bracelets that fit any budget – they range from $29 for a pair of earrings to $300 for a strand of Majorca pearls.
Women typically spend less on Valentine’s Day than men. After stopping to buy a card at CJ Kard, they can stop by Saboz for a selection of silk ties or pick up a Colorado-made Naked Watch.
Or they can buy a bottle of wine at Vintages, which offers spirits for every price range. Of course, a bottle of Opus, a high-dollar wine that sells for $150, might really impress a significant other.
If women want to shop online, they can buy a pair of silk pajamas at redenvelope.com for their guy: price $135, slightly higher than most women are spending. Other manly ideas: a poker set for $48.99 or a portable DVD player for $139, both at Overstock.com.
While most consumers are spending more money on their sweethearts, they also plan to buy for children and other members of their family, according to the NRF survey. A portion of the $100.90 will be spent on other family members, friends, children’s classmates and co-workers.
Amy.gillentine@csbj.com