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Mother’s Day Means Big Business for Small Companies

The average shopper is spending more than $122 on Mom this year.

Two-thirds of small-business owners expect Mother's Day to provide a big boost to the bottom line, according to a new survey.

Of nearly 500 respondents, 66% have high hopes for the holiday, which falls on May 14 this year, with 76% describing it as an important part of their annual revenue, according to the survey by Constant Contact, an e-mail marketing service based in Waltham, Mass.

Companies in the hospitality industry expect the strongest sales, followed by consumer services such as jewelers and spas, and retail stores.

"For a large group of small businesses, holiday seasons can really make or break their year," said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. A separate survey for the firm found that Mother's Day outsells Valentine's Day, Easter, Father's Day, and Halloween.

Shoppers are also planning to spend more on Mom this year -- $122.16, up $7.53 from 2005, according to the National Retail Federation, a Washington-based trade group.

Half of all respondents polled by Constant Contact consider flowers to be the most popular Mother's Day gift, with 30% voting for a spa or salon appointment or gift certificate.

"So far this month, we've brought in $4,100 in gift cards for Mother's Day," said Sandra Tanek, owner of Body & Soul Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. By Sunday, Tanek expects to sell close to $9,000 in gift cards -- $6,500 more than the total for gift cards sold in the month of April.

Like most spas around this time of year, Body & Soul markets Mother's Day packages that offer a mixture of massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. "People are moving away from the high-end resorts -- they can't get the personal service there that they can at a smaller spa," Tanek said. "Services at smaller spas are generally less expensive."

Local Charm, a New Orleans-based jewelry studio with an outlet in Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace, specializes in handcrafted jewelry, and sees a lot of nearby workers stop in for last-minute gifts. "Because we are close to the Financial District, a lot of business people have been coming in on their lunch break and after work to buy Mother's Day gifts this week," manager Amy Johnson said.

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