After nearly six months of preparation, SpartanNash's floral departments are fully stocked for the onslaught of last-minute Valentine's Day shoppers.
It’s been a busy week for grocery store trips, between preparations for the Super Bowl game on Feb. 11, Mardi Gras on Feb. 13, the beginning of the Lenten season on Feb. 14 and Valentine’s Day also on Feb. 14. Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays of the first quarter, and the National Retail Federation (NRF) projects that consumers are going big on love this year, with total spending on significant others for the holiday expected to hit a record $14.2 billion.
Flowers, of course, are a top gift for Valentine’s Day. According to NRF, 39% of consumers plan to buy flowers for this occasion, behind greeting cards (40%) and candy (57%).
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Grocers expect a rush at the floral department on the day before and day of Valentine’s Day, as shoppers look for blooms to show their affection for loved ones, family members and friends. For retailers, getting ready for one of the busiest floral weeks of the season comes much earlier.
“It is a process. We start way back in September, to identify what our products will be offered, and we also look to solicit orders for the holiday. Now, we are full in stock for the last minute rush,” reported Jennie Garbarek, floral merchandising manager at SpartanNash.
In an exclusive interview with Progressive Grocer, Garbarek said that Valentine’s Day inventories and promotions include hard goods like plush toys and candies and an array of floral items such as potted plants, orchids and fresh-cut flowers. To ensure the freshest blooms, the retailer works closely with its partners in the supply chain and leverages technologies. “Communication is really important in working in a highly perishable industry because you have to be quick to act and communicate, not just with the store team but the leadership of the store," she explained, adding, “We have a pretty solid supply chain network and utilize the cold chain, including our refrigerated transportation, logistics and warehouse that ensure maximum freshness for long-lasting flowers, from the moment they are harvested all the way to the sales floor.”
Garbarek and her team also collaborate with suppliers to offer floral products that are popular with today’s shoppers, including standard favorites like roses to cheerful mixed bouquets to longer-lasting houseplants. “Our roses are an amazing value, and rose are still No. 1 – they continue to be that one item when you think of floral for Valentine’s Day,” she remarked. “We’ve pulled some data showing that over half of consumers purchasing flowers for Valentine's Day are purchasing roses.”