Procrastinators may find that a snowy Valentine's will put their plans on ice—or at least, result in one heck of a no-gift excuse.
Florists and other retailers say they're racing to execute contingency plans ahead of the snow and ice storm moving its way up the East Coast. Meteorologists have called the storm "catastrophic," and expect it to trigger widespread power outages and dangerous travel conditions as it dumps ice and snow from Georgia to Maine through Friday—Valentine's Day.
Translation: Plan for potentially delayed gift deliveries and reduced chances of making it out for last-minute shopping or a Valentine's dinner. That could put a big dent in spending for the holiday, which the National Retail Federation had expected could top $17.3 billion. The industry group said the average consumer will spend $133.91 on purchases including flowers, candy, cards and dinner, up from $130.97 in 2013.
"Valentine's Day is the ultimate procrastinator's holiday," said Matthew Rosenheim, president of Washington, D.C., jeweler Tiny Jewel Box. "The storm has the potential to have a major financial impact on the business." The store took to its social media feeds Wednesday, warning customers to check its site for business hours on Thursday and Friday—usually, its two busiest Valentine sales days--as the storm passes.
(Read more: Can't get a snow shovel? Blame the Olympics)