Australia sees red on e-Valentine's day

Even so, Parker said the Perth-based online adult retailer had not experienced any difficulties fulfilling orders leading up to Valentine's Day. He said there was a greater likelihood of order fulfillment problems with online retailers operating independently of their warehouses. AdultShop operates its own warehouses through the company's "bricks and mortar" counterpart, Bararella's, he said. Barbarella's currently has 26 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Parker said sales had picked up around 60 per cent just last week. "It's hard to tell, though, because it's all been moving so fast anyway," he said.

Parker said AdultShop customers had been advised that orders had to be placed before the end of last week in order to guarantee delivery on or before Valentine's Day. Orders submitted over the weekend would be "difficult" for AdultShop to deliver on time, he said.

Likewise, online department store Mark Foys' manager Jonathon Shearman said his company had experienced a significant leap in sales leading up to Valentine's Day. He said, of all Mark Foys orders received over the last 10 days, around 70 per cent had been "Valentine's-specific".

Almost every order had included a request for an attached personalised card, Shearman said.

Steven Spilly, managing director for online PC retailer E-Store, said his company had decided not to pursue a Valentine's Day-specific marketing campaign. He said this was because his company didn't feel its merchandise was "relevant" to Valentine's Day. All the same, Spilly said his company expected February would be the company's highest grossing month since starting in March last year -outshining even the 1999 Christmas period.

According to ACNielsen's Internet arm, NetRatings, Valentine's Day has seen a substantial across-the-board sales boost for many online gift shops. A NetRatings Internet traffic study found that online gift retailers had experienced traffic increases of 88 per cent leading up to Valentine's Day. Additionally, lingerie Website traffic increased 78 per cent, gift certificates 77 per cent and flowers 32 per cent, the study found.

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Byron Kaye

PC World

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