A study released by market research firm IBISWorld Inc. reports that the restaurant industry will benefit from Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year.

According to the study, dining out is projected to account for nearly half of Valentine’s-related sales in 2010. The category is expected to earn $8.5 billion in sales stemming from this year’s Valentine’s Day, an 8.2 percent climb over 2009.

“When Valentine’s falls on, say, a Wednesday or a Thursday, it’s the best time for the retail environment, particularly for flowers and jewelry, because men do a lot of their shopping after work or during work hours,” says Toon van Beeck, senior analyst for IBISWorld.

“That’s not going to happen this year, because a lot of the men realize Valentine’s has crept up quite quickly, and then it’s Saturday already. So instead of purchasing traditional retailing gifts, there’s going to be a substitute effect toward dining out.”

The IBISWorld study shows the candy segment falling 1.3 percent in sales this year over 2009, the jewelry segment falling 4.6 percent, and the flower segment falling 4.9 percent.

Valentine’s Day–related sales are expected to gross $17.6 billion overall, a 3.3 percent increase from 2009.

“Valentine’s Day is the first big commercial spending time since [Christmas], so it’s a great time to really try to leverage some kind of sales on this day,” van Beeck says. “Although a lot of people view Valentine’s Day as a waste of time, others really stick to it and enjoy the day and they do spend a bit of money.”

Holidays like Valentine’s Day, van Beeck says, are a good way to boost sales—especially if businesses push for sales in the days leading up to the holiday.

“If they can capitalize on extra sales in this area, then it certainly does go a long way to helping yourself, particularly in this tough economic environment.”

By Sam Oches

Finance, Menu Innovations, News