V-day wrap up

Depending on who you ask, Valentine’s Day is the holiday to celebrate love, the people who share in it and the beauty of romance, or a made-up, corporate holiday designed to increase consumer spending. Whether it be jewelry, chocolate or the iconic red rose, there are plenty of gifts to buy every year, and, according to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent more in 2020 on the holiday than in years past—$27.4 billion to be exact, up from $20.7 billion in 2019.

After Feb. 14 passes, though, those same gifts still line the shelves of stores everywhere. Stores like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens are left with the task of trying to sell the Valentine’s Day-themed gifts they set out weeks in advance.

With so much money spent on the holiday already, it can difficult to convince shoppers to buy stock that has seemingly already hit an expiration date. One of the ways of clearing all of the remaining stock is to put it all on clearance. Deals up to 50 to 80 percent off help move items off shelves so typical inventory can replace it. And buyers respond to the sales. Websites and blogs like allthingstarget.com (an independent website not affiliated with but reporting on Target) discuss expected sale dates and include recommendations for items that can be kept for future Valentine’s Days or incorporated into gifts for upcoming holidays like Easter.

Some companies are coming up with other strategies to ensure they can save themselves from having to get rid of purchased stock. Releasing items that aren’t specific to the holiday is one way of doing this, like candy that’s more brand than heart-shaped-box focused. Go to Walmart, and you’ll see displays of cookies and baked goods that are indeed red and pink but don’t scream Valentine’s Day in the slightest—especially when placed on a spring-themed table alongside newer seasonal items.