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Shoppers find economic Valentine's gifts

February 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Billions of dollars were spent on flowers, candy, jewelry and gift cards this Valentine's Day. Retailers expected the purchases to give a big boost to the economy.

The California Flower Mall in downtown Los Angeles was open all night to accommodate shoppers.

The National Retail Federation said the average person spent $126.03 on gifts, which is up 8.5 percent from last year's $116.21. That's the highest amount of spending in the survey's 10-year history.

Candy was expected to be the most popular gift, with 51 percent of shoppers buying sweets for their loved ones. Flowers and an evening out is tied for second place at 36 percent. That's followed by jewelry at 19 percent and gift cards at 13 percent.

Total sales nationwide were expected to reach $17.6 billion.

But savvy shoppers didn't shy away from showing their love on Valentine's Day. Despite the tough economy, many across SoCal were still able to find gifts for the ones they love.

Some shoppers went to discount stores to score deals on gifts.

"You can get cards, you can get the candy and you can get a little teddy bear for just a dollar," said Canoga Park resident Malena Trebino.

Others stopped by Flowers and Designs by Gina in Woodland Hills.

"Our specialty is orchids. All you see is beautiful orchids, and we have fresh flowers and everything," said store owner Gina Ghatan.

While Orchids are a big seller, roses can be purchased at the store. Ezra Ziv went to the shop to buy a bouquet of flowers for his wife.

But consumers out shopping for valentine's day gifts said no matter what you buy it is not about the gift but about the heart that gives it.