Shops report steep drop in demand

Lukewarm Valentine’s Day gift sales in Haditha

HADITHA — Gift shop owners in Anbar’s Haditha are facing a slow start to this year’s Valentine’s Day season, despite rolling out special deals and a wide variety of gifts designed to appeal to all tastes. Traditionally, gift buying kicks off at least a week before the holiday, which is celebrated on February 14 each year.

Dia Waad, a gift shop owner in the area, shared with 964media his concerns about the expected drop in customer traffic. “We’re seeing a decline in customer interest, possibly due to the convenience of online shopping, which offers a vast array of options and deals. Another factor could be the increase in the dollar exchange rate. Normally, we start getting reservations and requests for gift arrangements at least two weeks before Valentine’s Day, but this year, there’s a noticeable dip in activity,” Waad explained.

He noted that his shop is stocked with popular items such as natural flowers, antiques, and accessories, and he remains hopeful for a pickup in demand as the holiday approaches.

Nour Al-Din Al-Hadithi, another local gift shop owner, told 964media that while customer interest is down from last year, this year’s selection of gifts is unique. “Customers tend to favor items like watches and accessories with thermal and laser printing. I’ve made sure the shop is fully stocked with Valentine’s Day gifts, as well as items for Ramadan and Mother’s Day, since these holidays are closely spaced,” Al-Hadithi said.