Florists count the cost as Valentine's Day is so close to Lunar New Year

Florists counting the cost as day for lovers' this year comes hot on the heels of Lunar New Year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 February, 2013, 5:50am

Valentine's Day isn't looking so enchanting this year for florists, who expect orders to be down by one-third because February 14 is so close to the Lunar New Year holiday.

Last year the lovers' day came more than two weeks after Lunar New Year.

Flower wholesalers and retailers in Flower Market Road near Prince Edward MTR station and on Lyndhurst Terrace in SoHo say that means many couples are still abroad as tomorrow rolls around.

What's more, many offices will not be open, depriving some customers of the chance to send their beloved bouquets at their place of work.

Maybe times have changed ... Men and women are equal now. It's no big deal if a girl pursues a guy

"We expect there will be less business this year," said Leung Lai-ming, manager of Wayfoong Florist in Prince Edward Road West. "Many offices will be closed. It's best when there's enough time between the two holidays, say a week or 10 days."

Cindy Yiu Pik-yuk, assistant manager at Sakura in Flower Market Road, said there were fewer orders than last year, noting that many people would not be back at work.

The level of activity in Flower Market Road confirmed their expectations.

"By this time last year the street was packed," said May Cheng Shui-mui, manager at Chun Fat Trading Company, surveying the pedestrian traffic outside her store. "It wasn't like this."

Cheng said that by the same date last year, she had received several times the number of orders she had received this year.

Lyndhurst Terrace remained quiet yesterday, with most of the stalls closed.

Still, some clients were willing to splurge. Three flower shops reported having orders for 99 roses.

One store was charging HK$6,880 for 99 roses, excluding delivery.

Sellers said prices were similar to last year, with some quoting retail prices of HK$680 to HK$1,100 for a bouquet of 11 roses from Kunming without delivery.

Some florists said they had noted a small but growing number of women buying flowers for their boyfriends.

"Maybe times have changed," Cheng said. "Men and women are equal now. It's no big deal if a girl pursues a guy."