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Press release from Marketwire

Retailers Love Valentine's Day-Counting on Strong Spending to Bolster February Sales: BMO

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Retailers Love Valentine's Day-Counting on Strong Spending to Bolster February Sales: BMO09:00 EST Wednesday, February 13, 2013TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2013) - According to BMO Economics, stronger job growth in the last few months of 2012 combined with the first increase in confidence levels in half a year could lead to stronger sales results this Valentine's Day during a period that tends to experience a lull in sales after the holiday rush."On average, Canadian retail sales see a seasonal fall of 4.4 per cent in February from January," said Jennifer Lee, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "However, some specific sectors in the retail space are poised for gains. For instance, sales of jewellery and watches have actually surged by 28 per cent over the past 16 years during the month of February, while cosmetics and fragrances grew 20 per cent." The categories that experienced the largest jump in annual sales over the last few years were candy (15 per cent), flowers (15 per cent) and jewellery (12 per cent)."Canadians should maximize the value of their gift purchases this Valentine's Day by using a credit or debit card that offers rewards for every dollar spent," said Nick Mastromarco, Director, BMO Bank of Montreal. "Added benefits often include purchase protection, extended warranties, zero liability and loyalty rewards." BMO offers budget-smart strategies for Valentine's Day shoppers:Only spend what you have: Just saw the perfect Valentine's Day gift, but don't have the cash in your pocket? You can put it on your credit card, which offers an immediate and convenient way to pay. But don't overextend yourself. Avoid interest costs by spending only what you know you'll have and can afford to pay back by the due date. Earn extra rewards: Utilize rewards programs to get the most out of your Valentine's Day purchases. Use a debit or credit card that offers rewards for purchases at multiple retail locations. The BMO AIR MILES bank account or BMO AIR MILES World credit card lets you accelerate rewards earnings and significantly enhance the value of every dollar spent by allowing you to "double dip" - essentially earning rewards twice on the same purchase when you use your Collector Card along with one of these forms of payment at AIR MILES Sponsor locations. Have a game plan: Before venturing out to look for that special item for your sweetheart, head out with an idea of what you'd like to purchase and set spending limits to ensure you don't go over the top.About BMO Financial Group Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at October 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Contact Information: Media Contacts:Matthew Duffin, Toronto(416) 867-3996matthew.duffin@bmo.comValerie Doucet, Montreal(514) 877-8224valerie.doucet@bmo.comLaurie Grant, Vancouver(604) 665-7596laurie.grant@bmo.comInternet: www.bmo.comTwitter: @BMOmedia