A Valentine's Day Sales Forecast Retailers Should Love

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Valentine's Day sales should thrill the hearts of retailers this year: Industry research firm IBISWorld forecasts spending for the lovers' holiday will top $18.6 billion, a 5.8% jump over 2010. That amounts to about $125 per person who buys a gift for that special someone.

The boost in Valentine's Day spending will cover everything from the traditional candy and flowers to jewelry and romantic getaways. Floral purchases are projected to grow by 16.8%, jewelry by 11.3%, romantic getaways by 5.7% and candy sales by 5.1%. Spending on greeting cards, dining out and clothing and lingerie will also see increases this year.

"Luxury spending is already on the rise, so it will come as no surprise that bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings will be the go-to gift choice for many Americans," said IBISWorld retail industry analyst Nikoleta Panteva in a statement. "This year, IBISWorld expects jewelry to make up 7.8% of all Valentine's Day sales, making its way back to pre-recessionary levels."

IBISWorld says the jump in sales should benefit the stock prices of jewelry industry players Tiffany (TIF), Zale (ZLC) and Blue Nile (NILE). These companies suffered during the initial stages of the recession starting in 2008, but they experienced significant growth in 2010, which could extend into 2011 if the economic recovery gains strength.

According to Morningstar, Tiffany gained 47.02% in 2010, and Zale was up 56.62%, while Blue Nile was down 9.9% in 2010 after skyrocketing 158.6% in 2009.

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