(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Although demand for flowers, especially roses, typically rises the week of Valentine's Day, vendors said they are expecting lacklustre sales this year due to financial hardship and regional events.
Merchants interviewed by The Jordan Times said that several factors are affecting the flower market this season, and predicted that these factors would depress sales on Valentine's Day, which is observed on February 14.
Amman Flowers Bourse Chairman Mazen Ghalayini expressed pessimism about the upcoming occasion.
"Financial hardships Jordanians are facing these days will lead them to skip buying roses this year. Merchants' demand for roses is 60 per cent lower than last year," Ghalayini told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.
Nader Raymond, a flower merchant and former chairman of the Amman Flowers Bourse, agreed, adding that the instability in the region, especially in Syria, has caused the market to decline.
He explained that many local flower wholesalers export products to Syria, but the current situation in the Kingdom's northern neighbour has capsized demand and hampered exports, driving down prices in the flower market.
Nonetheless, he said, the low prices have done nothing to improve demand in the local market.
"Although prices are cheaper than last year, this has not inspired merchants to buy and stock up for the occasion. The wholesale price of red roses at the bourse currently ranges between 450 fils and 600 fils per flower, while flower shops sell one rose for JD2.5 to JD7. Last year, roses were sold to merchants at between 750 fils and JD1.5, but demand was higher than this year," the flower merchant told The Jordan Times.
Ghalayini explained that the size and the origin of the flower determine its price.
"We import flowers from Ethiopia, Ecuador and India," he noted.
Raymond added that a shop's venue and its brand also play a role in determining the retail price of flowers.
"The price of a rose in east Amman is different than in west Amman. Branding also contributes to raising the flower's price," he pointed out.
Mohammad Amawi, the owner of the Sedra Flower Shop in Amman's Tlaa Al Ali area, said that customers also pay more for flowers that come with accessories.
"They sometimes ask us to put flowers in vases or add plush animals. These accessories also increase the price," the florist told The Jordan Times at his shop.
Although flower vendors do not expect the market to receive its usual Valentine's Day boost this season, they voiced hope that business might still pick up today and tomorrow.
"I am always optimistic... Customers usually buy roses and gifts on Valentine's Day, not before. This is an important occasion for lovers and they cannot miss it. We will wait and see," Amawi said.