Indications from leading industry analysts at IBISWorld suggest that this Valentine’s Day we will pay with our palates, selecting premium lines more than ever before.

We’ve all been there. A late night fill-up at the servo after a kebab and a beer. All that’s wanted is the feeling of soft cotton sheets and a decent sleep, as the clock hands edge toward midnight. Within shot, a solitary bunch of cello-wrapped seasonal flowers destined for a suburban lounge or, just as likely, the bin. Once the stalwart arrangement for time poor partners who had to make do. Now, no longer accepted as a satisfactory substitute for a premium bouquet or something demanding a little more effort.

This year, Australians are predicted to lavish their loved ones to the tune of $791.4 million or $86 per person, according to Ms Karen Dobie, IBISWorld General Manager (Australia). “Premium items are at the top of the agenda this year as Valentine’s Day becomes more entrenched in Australia”, said Ms Dobie. “And for those unable to splurge on a romantic getaway or dinner at a hatted restaurant, there will be opportunities to go the extra mile by purchasing premium chocolates and a dozen red roses rather than a mixed bouquet from the local servo.”

Now, George has never been adverse to risk, as long as it’s calculated. Lingerie has always been off bounds. So many things could go wrong when a box containing a carefully wrapped silky nightdress is opened over a candlelit dinner. It may not fit; the worst case scenario, suggesting George thinks his lady friend is a gaunt Russian supermodel but is, in fact, just a rather charming and healthy size 8 from Sydney’s eastern suburbs. It may not convey the right intentions; that George feels a touch too lucky on this historically amorous night. Or, simply, there could be better alternatives. With the lingerie and clothing category set to increase by a slim 2.2% this year, frillies are out of favour. “Lingerie and clothing have been losing momentum as Valentine’s Day favourites for a number of years, perhaps due to a combination of their relatively high cost and the difficulty in finding a surprise for your loved one that they will like and fit into without causing offence and dampening the mood”, said Ms Dobie. But don’t despair. A bouquet of lilies or roses to accompany a gift basket can be a wonderful introduction to a weekend away.

Given Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, why not take advantage of the bitter rivalry being played out at 36,000 feet? Australian airlines have boosted capacity and slashed prices. And George, the consumer, benefits. As a result, domestic travel this weekend is set to soar. Overseas jaunts, however, are likely to be out of favour as the increasingly precarious Australia dollar deters our fanciful dreams of setting up on a beach in Fiji or sipping a boutique brew in Belgium. Our point is, that if you’re feeling flushed – in the pocket and not in the face that is - a short break to the Whitsundays certainly can’t hurt.

Rock on, George, you’ve got it in the bag.

12 February 2014
Shirt Tales
The Journal Of Pugnacious George
Discoveries, Musings, Misadventures

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