ValentineChocolate_Small.gifValentine’s Day may be a day set aside for true love, but it’s also evolved into just another shopping event complete with last-minute gift-buyers running into their local Wal-Greens.

Data from RetailNext showed a a 22% increase in traffic on the actual holiday in small format general merchandise stores, such as Wal-Greens, this year.

But, other store formats also saw the last-minute bump in spending, with a 9% increase in department stores and 7% increase in specialty stores on the annual day of love. The data based on a analysis of 287 U.S. retail stores and more than 4 million shoppers.

“We saw a marked tendency toward last-minute shopping in the Valentine's Day season, more so than with most other holidays,” says Chitra Balasubramanian, v.p. of insights, RetailNext. “The stores that did well are those that converted the rush into more actual sales or higher average ticket value.”

As expected, chocolate was an extremely popular purchase, making up 84% of candy gift sales and more than 50% of all seasonal sales.

Procrastinating shoppers also preferred small format general merchandise stores to specialty stores on the day before Valentine’s, with a 36% increase in traffic for general stores as opposed to a 16% decline for specialty stores. The trend was perhaps due to the easier availability of popular items at general stores.

Specialty retailers had a 2% increase in sales when compared to non-seasonal times, with shoppers spending more per transaction at specialty and general stores during this time.

For more information about Valentine’s Day shopping, see RetailNext’s Valentine’s Day Shopper Insights infographic at

For more information about RetailNext, visit

— M.K.