If you pay attention to the Twittersphere, Hallmark Cards invented Valentines Day to sell cards. Wrong by about three centuries.
Americans began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s a woman named Esther Howland began selling whats thought to be the first mass-produced valentines.
That was about 70 years before Joyce Hall, Hallmarks founder, famously started selling cards out of a shoebox in Kansas City.
Theres no doubt, though, that Valentines Day gives card sellers a huge boost. Todays holiday is No. 2 behind Christmas for generating card sales.
The Greeting Card Association expects 150 million to 160 million Valentines Day cards to be bought in the United States this year, or about the same number purchased last year.
That figure, excluding the boxed childrens sets, includes cards that range from 99 cents to more than $10 each. The National Retail Federation estimates total card sales at $1.1 billion.
Whats also expected to hold constant this year is that women tend to purchase about eight out of 10 cards.
So where do men spend their Valentines Day dollars?
According to the National Retail Federation, this years biggest outlay is expected to be for jewelry. Try $3.5 billion on for size. Hot on that industrys heels will be dining out. Restaurant tabs of $3.4 billion are expected for what can be the busiest dining-out day of the year for many establishments.
The Society of American Florists thinks floral gifts will reach $1.7 billion.
And the National Confectioners Association expects a 4 percent surge in candy sales to more than $1 billion. The National Retail Federation forecasts even sweeter sales at $1.5 billion.
All told, total holiday spending for Valentines Day is expected to reach $15.7 billion, including sexy lingerie, pajamas, and other odds and ends.
Read the complete story at kansascity.com