Valentine's Day means bonanza for UAE florists
The UAE will be smelling sweet today after 63 tonnes of flowers arrived in Dubai in the last full week before Valentine's Day. Dnata ,a cargo and handling provider, said the volume of flowers passing through
the Dubai Flower Centre had increased 30 per cent from 48 tonnes in the first week of last month as demand peaked.
"It's the best day of the year for us in terms of retail sales," said Michael Lennon, a co-manager of Bliss Flowers, which has shops in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The company would sell the same amount of flowers in two days as it would over the course of a normal month, he added. Bliss imported three different types of roses from Kenya, Ecuador and the Netherlands for the big day.
The company expected to sell 1,000 bouquets in two days at its stores in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and on the Palm Jumeirah, Mr Lennon said. "We are definitely going to do more than last year."
Flowers are being flown to the Emirates from countries including Colombia, Malaysia and Thailand on Emirates Airline, KLM, British Airways, Lufthansa and Ethiopian Airlines.
The Dubai Flower Centre, based at Dubai International Airport, is a specialist warehouse designed to cool perishable cargo, while Dnata uses thermal blankets to transport the blooms to prevent them from wilting.
"Sales are really nice this year," said Tiffany Fowler, the assistant managing director at UpScale & Posh, a florist in Dubai. "It's been very busy. We've sold a couple of arrangements that are 100 roses each, costing about US$500 [Dh1,836]. Most people get one dozen, two dozen roses, and they like the chocolates and the bears and things that go with it."
Restaurants are also enjoying brisk business for the occasion.
"We have seen an increase of 20 per cent compared to last year's Valentine's bookings," said Heiko Schreiner,the senior vice president of resort operations at Atlantis, The Palm.
He said the property was receiving many last-minute bookings, with the restaurants Nobu and Ossiano being in high demand.
At.mosphere, in the Burj Khalifa, is offering Valentine's Day menus, including one priced at Dh4,500 per couple for a window table in the world's tallest tower.
Sales of jewellery are also up, according to the retailer Pure Gold Jewellers.
"This year, Valentine's is better than the previous year," said Firoz Merchant, the chairman of Pure Gold. "I believe that we'll see approximately 25 to 30 per cent additional sales this year during the Valentine's. Customers are buying gold and diamond jewellery."
And with jewellery, any unwanted gifts from admirers can always be resold, perhaps even at a higher price.
"Everyone knows that diamond and gold has a resale value," said Mr Merchant. "They are spending money, but smartly, with a return on investment.