Sales are blooming for the florists

Florists have seen 30 percent more Valentine's Day orders while restaurants are expecting HK$350 million business tomorrow as couples are set to spend their first lover's day after most Covid restrictions have been lifted.

People flocked to the Mong Kok flower market at the weekend to buy flowers for their loved ones.

A staff member of Give Gift Boutique's Hong Kong flower workshop said it had received 500 orders by yesterday, with some requested last week. It expects business can increase by at least 20 percent.

Despite rising flower costs, the florist did not increase selling prices. Most customers spent HK$800 to more than HK1,000 for a bouquet, with red roses topping the best-selling list.

More bouquets will be delivered to offices, accounting for 60 percent of orders, she added.

You N Me Floral's operator, Hui, said business had increased 30 percent compared with last year, with the orders received since December and was fully booked last week.

It also kept the prices unchanged, although costs are 20 percent higher this year, as higher turnover can offset the rising costs.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Wholesale Florist Association, Sunny Lai Wing-chun, said business has rebounded to 80 to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, and he believed business would soar on Valentine's Day.

A French restaurant owner said this year's business has reached 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels, with bookings for Valentine's Day full up two weeks ago.

Catering veteran Simon Wong Ka-wo said business has hit 85 to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

But he said the estimated turnover on Valentine's Day is up to HK$350 million, less than the usual level of HK$400 million.

People's income might have declined and since the full border reopening, while many Hongkongers will head north, there are relatively fewer mainland tourists coming here.

But Wong said the business will return to normal in the second half.

A speed dating organizer said people are more passionate than ever this year, with three events for afternoon tea and dinner organized at the weekend before the special day, more than the typical two during prepandemic times.