Retail

Bradenton, Manatee retailers look for share of $21.4 billion in Mother's Day sales

Mardee Westerman, owner of Richey's Fine Chocolates in Bradenton, gets the display cases of her shop at 4710 Manatee Ave. W. ready for an expected Friday and Saturday rush of Mother's Day business. MATT M. JOHNSON/Bradenton Herald
Mardee Westerman, owner of Richey's Fine Chocolates in Bradenton, gets the display cases of her shop at 4710 Manatee Ave. W. ready for an expected Friday and Saturday rush of Mother's Day business. MATT M. JOHNSON/Bradenton Herald

MANATEE -- It might cost a bit more to show Mom how much she is loved this year.

Retailers' groups at both the state and national level are expecting near-record retail spending for Sunday's Mother's Day holiday, with families spending an average of $172.63. That's up more than $10 from 2014, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation.

Total nationwide spending is expected to top $21.4 billion.

How Mother's Day spreads the wealth to Manatee County retailers is something many won't know until Friday or Saturday. Mark Clark, who co-owns Flowers By Edie at 4607 Cortez Road W. in Bradenton, said the flower shop is staying open on Sunday to accommodate shoppers who are late getting a gift for Mom.

"Mother's Day is a very last-minute holiday for the flower business," he said.

According to the retail federation's annual Mother's Day Spending Survey, Americans will spend about $2.4 million on flowers, $4.1 billion on special outings, $2.2 billion on gift cards, $1.9 billion on clothing and $1.6 billion on services such as spas and manicures.

Kathleen Gallen, owner of Spa NorthWest in Bradenton, expects to see most Mother's Day shoppers coming in to buy yoga, massage and other spa services and packages only a day or two before the holiday.

She's also catering to mothers who would like a bit of instant satisfaction. The spa is holding a Saturday afternoon yoga and spa day for Mother's Day and will have massage therapists working on Sunday.

"We'll probably see a big burst around Friday and Saturday," Gallen said of her spa's in-person and online sales.

Mother's Day shoppers will likely spend the most on jewelry, buying an estimated $4.2 billion in shiny baubles. Tom Jess, owner of Jess Jewelers in Bradenton, said that could be a an overstatement of his industry's take for the holiday. To draw customers into his shop this weekend, he is running a promotion that encourages Mother's Day shoppers to trade in old or broken jewelry and gold for new pieces.

Jess sees this as a way to appeal to consumers who have not seen enough economic recovery to view Mother's Day as a big jewelry shopping occasion.

"The economy is still tight," he said. "The average person could use a little help."

At the other end of the price spectrum, candy and flowers remain favorites. Clark at Flowers by Edie predicts that Mother's Day customers will spend across a wide range, from about $4 for a single rose to more than $100 for arrangements.

At Richey's Fine Chocolates, a Manatee Avenue shop that makes its own candies on site, Mother's Day shopping will likely be a family affair. Owner Mardee Westerman said the holiday is one of the shop's busiest weekends. Chocolate-covered cherries are a perennial favorite buy, but beyond that, shoppers will likely put together confectionery gifts that appeal to a wide range of tastes.

Most buyers, she said, will be adults getting something for their mothers, or fathers buying on behalf of their children.

"It's mostly the husbands coming in," Westerman said. "It's women coming in for their moms."

Big local business is also expecting a share of the Mother's Day shopping. Amy Kraemer, the general merchandising manager for Bradenton-based department store Bealls, said sales at its Florida locations have been climbing. She said the company's expectations are high for the coming weekend.

We've definitely seen an increase in the last few weeks," Kraemer said. "Jewelry, apparel accessories and home items are getting a lot of action lately."

The National Retail Federation survey states that about 33 percent of Mother's Day consumers will head to department stores. Twenty-nine percent will go to specialty stores, while 23 percent will patronize local businesses. Online retailers will draw 27 percent of consumers.

The survey drew opinions from 7,000 consumers during the second week in April.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.

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