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    ACNielsen: 'Last-Minute Romantics' Drive Valentine Candy Sales

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - Valentine's Day week generates more candy sales than any other holiday week, according to ACNielsen U.S., an operating unit of ACNielsen, a VNU company.

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - Valentine's Day week generates more candy sales than any other holiday week, according to ACNielsen U.S., an operating unit of ACNielsen, a VNU company. A review of one-week total candy sales in the combined grocery, drug, and mass merchandise channels (excluding Wal-Mart) shows Valentine's Day week topping all others in 2002.

    However, it appears that the holiday is not the largest holiday "season" for candy. Defining the season as the six weeks leading up to and including the holiday, Valentine's Day drops to last on the list of top candy-selling holiday seasons, according to ACNielsen.

    "It appears that people tend to plan ahead when buying candy for Christmas, Halloween and Easter, whereas Valentine's Day generates more last-minute candy buying," said Phil Lempert, spokesperson for ACNielsen. "Manufacturers and retailers start promoting Valentine's Day candy well in advance, but, for the most part, people tend to wait until the actual holiday draws closer."

    Not surprisingly, chocolate is the candy of choice for Valentine's Day. Throughout the year, 62 percent of all candy sold is chocolate. During Valentine's Day week, that figure grows to 70 percent.

    Boxed chocolate candy represents 72 percent of all chocolate candy sold during Valentine's Day week - most of it packaged specifically for Valentine's Day, such as that sold in heart-shaped boxes.

    Valentine's Day is also a time when candy sales are stronger in drug stores than grocery stores. Throughout the year, grocery stores account for a little over half (53 percent) of all sales in grocery, drug, and mass merchandise stores (excluding Wal-Mart) combined. For the week of Valentine's Day, however, those percentages are reversed.

    Drug stores tend to stock a broader selection of boxed holiday-themed candy than grocery stores, Lempert noted. "Drug stores have become the go-to destination for heart-shaped boxed candy."

    One of the fastest-growing types of candy no matter what time of year is chocolate dietetic candy, according to ACNielsen data. While the $73 million segment represents just one percent of all candy sold in the combined grocery/drug/mass merchandise channel, dollar volume was up 79 percent in 2002 while sales of all candy declined by one percent.

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