Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

Off-Balance Sheet: Valentine's Day--A Home Run For Retailers


The origins of a holiday as a major economic force...


Relax, it's only money.

Here in the 'Ville we like to keep things smart, but we also love to laugh. All work and no know how it goes. With that in mind we proudly introduce The "Off-Balance Sheet," a place where Minyans can experience humorous takes on the world of finance, personal stories from our Professors and Minyans and all the other stuff that makes life worth living. So take a break from the flickering ticks and dive in.

I'm not telling anyone anything they don't already know when I say that Valentine's Day is big, big business.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend $13.7 billion this year on Valentine's Day-related items, up 22% over the last five years.

Hallmark Cards, Inc., of Kansas City, Missouri, anticipates 180 million Valentine's Day cards to be exchanged this year.

"Valentine's Day is the second largest holiday for giving greeting cards after Christmas," says Rachel Bolton, a spokeswoman for the company.

Let me repeat that: Valentine's Day is the second largest holiday for giving greeting cards after Christmas. Wow. Now, here's a question that's been vexing me: why February 14th?

Presidents' Day falls on the third Monday of February to honor Abraham Lincoln, who was born on February 12th, and George Washington, who was born on February 22nd.

Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January, which falls close to King's birthday, January 15th.

But former journeyman ballplayer and current manager of the Japanese League Chiba Lotte Marines, Bobby Valentine, was born on May 13th. Honoring him on February 14th seems arbitrary, at best. In fact, honoring him at all seems arbitrary, at best. And I find it extremely difficult to make heads or tails of the dollars being spent by men on Valentine's Day when women make up such a small percentage of the total number of baseball fans in this country. Why do wives, girlfriends, and the like insist on roses, jewelry and chocolates to celebrate the career of a man who played just ten years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners and hit a measly twelve home runs the entire time he was in the major leagues?

The Origins of a Holiday As a Major Economic Force

I decided to find out more about Bobby Valentine and the allure of Valentine's Day. I started with Valentine's sports bar and restaurant, Bobby Valentine's Sports Gallery Café. What I discovered astounded me.

Friends, Bobby Valentine invented the wrap sandwich.

Valentine first made the claim when his restaurant was featured on the Food Network a few years back. Unlike Al Gore's easily refutable assertion that he invented the Internet, I could find no evidence that led me to doubt Bobby V. Now things were coming together. I was beginning to understand why the man is venerated in the United States; so much so that he warrants his own holiday.

The answer is obvious. Women love wraps. The menu at Bobby Valentine's Sports Gallery Café lists five wraps with the following fillings: Cajun chicken, beer-battered fish, chicken Caesar salad, Buffalo chicken, and Cobb salad. To a woman, being the creator of the wrap is akin to being the creator of the high heel, the blow-dryer, or chocolate cake. No wonder Valentine's Day was brought into existence. And, with a female population of approximately 150 million, is it any surprise Valentine's Day has become such big business?

For more, I turned to Minyanville's resident Lothario, Kevin Depew.

The $13.7 Billion Question

First of all, let's get one thing straight: The Sugar Hill Gang invented rap. Bobby Valentine had nothing to do with it.

Not that kind of rap. I'm talking about the wrap sandwich, which Bobby Valentine says he invented.

Justin, I don't know about you, but for my money, I'm not interested in sitting around listening to a sandwich. I just don't think it would be particularly engaging.

That's not what I'm talking about-

Look, you want to talk about Eazy-E, I'm here for you. You want to ask me about The Game, or T.I., or Memphis Bleek, go right ahead.

I think you're confused. I'm talking about Valentine's Day and how it relates to Bobby Valentine and the wrap sandwich, which was supposedly first made at his restaurant in Stamford.

Sanford? As in, Fred Sanford of "Sanford & Son?" What does he have to do with anything?

Absolutely nothing.


I said "Stamford" anyway-

Next question.

Kevin tapped his foot impatiently while he stared at the ceiling. I felt like I had just walked into a stranger's home and asked if I could make out with his daughter.

Let's discuss the $13.7 billion spent annually on Valentine's Day.

I'd rather not.


Listen, moneybags-just because I don't spend $13.7 billion on my wife for Valentine's Day doesn't mean I'm a bad husband.

No, $13.7 billion is the total amount spent on Valentine's Day.

Maybe by you, it is. I go for something a little less pretentious, like an understated box of chocolates, or a tasteful bouquet of flowers. You want to play the big shot and spend the better part of $14 billion on your little stable of floozies, be my guest, show-off.

I thought about pretending I had a stomachache so I could excuse myself. I hung in there and tried one more question.

Do you need a hug?


You look like you need a hug.

Get out of my face, weirdo.

The Second Most Wonderful Time of the Year

After recovering from my exchange with Kevin, I let the vastness of the numbers sink in. A good Valentine's Day can make or break the year for a retailer. Mets fans still smarting from their World Series loss to the Yankees in 2000 on Valentine's watch may hate the guy. However, 1-800-FLOWERS, FTD, and Godiva have a lot to thank him for.
< Previous
  • 1
Next >
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Videos