Retailers focus on moms - East Valley Tribune: Business

Retailers focus on moms

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Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2004 8:03 am | Updated: 6:13 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Procrastinators are expected to grab gems and greeting cards today and frantically phone restaurants to book a table for Sunday brunch.

Mother’s Day looms, and East Valley retailers are ready.

"Our stores will be very busy (today)," said Diane Haberman, owner of Hallmark shops in Tempe, Chandler and Scottsdale. "That’s why we always order in lunch for everyone."

The average U.S. consumer plans to spend $98.64 for Mother’s Day gifts and meals, according to a survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation. That’s just a little less than the average tab for Valentine’s Day.

With 82 percent of the consumers surveyed saying they will celebrate the momfocused holiday, U.S. retailers should ring up a $10.4 billion bonanza, the industry trade group estimates.

Jewelers will reap the biggest bounty — more than $2.2 billion nationwide. The average jewelry purchase for Mother’s Day will be $62.40, according to the survey.

"Mother’s Day is equal to, if not bigger than, Valentine’s Day," said Scott Gauthier, owner of Jewelry by Gauthier with shops in downtown Scottsdale and at Kierland Commons in northeast Phenix. "Motherhood is a big thing. It’s a lot more earrings, bracelets and necklaces. On Valentine’s Day we do a lot more with rings."

Monti’s La Casa Vieja in Tempe also does a booming-but-different business on the two holidays.

"On Valentine’s Day, we fill reservations for two," said restaurant owner Michael Monti. "On Mother’s Day, it’s big tables full of families."

And like gift-buyers, the dining-out crowd waits till the last minute.

"We fill up with panicked reservations," Monti said. "(Today) is a big day for making reservations."

Cards may be the cheapest way to celebrate mom, but they are the most popular Mother’s Day purchase, according to the survey respondents.

A big 60 percent of those who said they would celebrate Mother’s Day planned to buy at least one card, while 33 percent planned to take mom out to eat, and 36 percent planned to ante up for flowers.

And it’s not just moms who get remembered.

"Many consumers are also buying gifts for their daughters, wives and grandmothers," said Phil Rist, vice president of research for BIGresearch, which conducted the survey. "When you’re honoring several mothers on one holiday, a $100 price tag is not hard to achieve."

The Greeting Card Association, an industry trade group, ranks Mother’s Day third after Christmas and Valentine’s Day for sending greeting cards.

But moms move ahead of lovers for bagging blooms. The Society of American Florists ranks Mother’s Day second after Christmas.

Consumers will spend $868 million on flowers and $244 million on greeting cards this Mother’s Day, the National Retail Federation estimates.

Still, some moms are destined to get a vacuum cleaner or lawn mower. The survey predicts Mother’s Day spending of $1 billion on housewares and gardening tools.

An online survey by Westcor, owner of most Valley malls including Superstition Springs Center in Mesa, Chandler Fashion Center, Scottsdale Fashion Square and Paradise Valley Mall, found that mothers are likely to fare better than fathers. More than 78 percent of those who responded to Westcor’s survey said they planned to buy Mother’s Day presents while only 65 percent said they would shop for Father’s Day. And of those who said they’d buy something for both mom and dad, nearly half said they would spend more on mom.

"It could have to do with the fact that some dads are just harder to shop for," said Anita Walker of Westcor.

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