Valentine Swooners Buy Most Candy Since 2009: Chart of the Day

This Valentine’s Day is poised to be the sweetest of the current U.S. economic expansion for candy makers.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows candy sales for the holiday celebrated on Feb. 14 will rise 1.9 percent to $1.057 billion from a year earlier, the highest since at least 2009, according to projections from the National Confectioners Association in Washington. Chocolate makes up about 75 percent of the total, Susan Whiteside, an NCA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Valentine’s Day spending on gifts will rise 2.2 percent to $133.91 per person on average this year, with about half of the romantics buying candy, the National Retail Federation in Washington forecasts. Americans are opening their wallets as the job market mends, with U.S. household purchases last quarter climbing at the fastest pace in three years and consumer confidence increasing to a five-month high in January.

“The economy is picking up, and people are able to spend a bit more,” said Lauren Bandy, a food analyst at Euromonitor International Ltd., a consumer-research company based in London. “Chocolate is also seen as an affordable luxury, so people might favor buying chocolate rather than going out for a meal or a weekend away.”

Global sales of chocolate confectionery will reach a record in 2014, according to Euromonitor. Cocoa futures jumped 35 percent in the past 12 months, trailing only natural gas among the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index, amid rising demand and threats to crops.

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