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Valentine's Day spending will rise half as much as last year

Spending is expected to rise 3.9 percent this Valentine's Day, less than half of the 8.5 percent increase last year, according to the National Retail Federation's latest survey. Libby Fravel, owner of a flower store in Virginia (pictured), hopes the federation is wrong.
Spending is expected to rise 3.9 percent this Valentine's Day, less than half of the 8.5 percent increase last year, according to the National Retail Federation's latest survey. Libby Fravel, owner of a flower store in Virginia (pictured), hopes the federation is wrong. AP Photo/The Winchester Star, Ginger Perry
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The love bug makes people do crazy things, but shelling out a lot more money on loved ones than last year is not one of them this Valentine's Day.

Spending is expected to rise 3.9 percent for the Feb. 14 occasion, less than half of the 8.5 percent increase last year, according to the National Retail Federation's latest survey.

The average person will spend about $131 on candy, cards, gifts and other items, up from $126 last year. Total spending will reach $18.6 billion.

Men will spend the most, on average $176 on jewelry, flowers, a romantic evening out and more, or nearly twice as much as their counterparts, who will shell out about $89.

About 51 percent of people will buy candy, and more than one-third will treat someone to flowers. About 20 percent will buy jewelry, while nearly 16 percent will buy clothing. Fifteen percent of gift givers also will include a card.

Different tune

Cars for the disabled are now parked where pianos once stood in West Ashley. The longtime Patterson Music store at 932 Savannah Highway, which closed in September, is home to the Mobility Supercenter.

The 5,200-square-foot shop features wheelchair-accessible full-size and minivan conversions as well as displays of home equipment such as stair lifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, ramps and elevators to improve home accessibility.

Vehicles include the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan and Volkswagen Routan Minivan, store manager Robin Hernandez said.

They're made by Vantage Mobility International and distributed by Richmond, Va.-based Mobility Supercenter. The Charleston store marks the compnay's third retail location.

Trading spaces

Citadel Mall lost another store last week, but it's expected to be filled later this month.

The Children's Place closed in late January, but its next door neighbor, Off Market Arts, a consignment arts shop, plans to move into the 4,000-square-foot space.

Do you know of a business that is opening, closing or expanding? Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlance wise.

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