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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 11:20 GMT
Cost warning over Valentine roses
red roses
The cost of flowers can jump by a third
The cost of flowers and chocolates can jump by nearly a third in the run-up to Valentine's Day, a survey by Trading Standards officers has found.

The findings prompted officers in Stirling and Clackmannanshire to warn romantics that they could be getting "ripped off".

Investigators found that 37% of traders in the area put up the cost of Valentine flowers.

Price increases ranged from 14% to 30% above the normal levels.

Rosemary McLellan and her team from Stirling Council's Trading Standards department looked at the cost of 12 red roses.

They asked for a price for delivery the week beginning Monday, 4 February, and then for a price for the same flowers to be delivered for Valentine's Day.

'Romantic gesture'

She said: "Although most traders (67%) stated the price would remain the same, some traders did increase their prices quite sharply. So it's worth shopping around for that romantic gesture.

"We also looked at giving chocolates instead of flowers.

"The results showed that for most of the boxes we looked at, the fancy boxes were more expensive for the same amount of chocolate. In one box the packaging was more than the weight of the chocolates."

Studies have painted differing pictures of the amount which will be spent on Valentine's Day gifts in the UK.

A poll for online payment provider PayPal said Britons would spend an average of 71.25 each on gifts.

However, a survey for price comparison website suggested couples looked for a genuinely priceless present.

It claimed one in three could not afford to celebrate Valentine's Day and the average amount spent on a partner would be 22.69.

Men aged between 25 and 34 were the most likely to spend on Valentine's Day gifts.

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