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Half a million roses sold for Sant Jordi despite health crisis

Booksellers report fewer sales compared to a normal April 23, but look forward to alternative July 23 festivities

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24 April 2020 11:49 AM

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ACN|Barcelona

Thursday saw a different Sant Jordi in Catalonia, with neither crowds in the streets nor bookshops or florists open.

Yet, both books and roses arrived at thousands of homes thanks to home delivery, although business was nothing close to usual April 23 standards.

The florists' guild reported having doubled the expected sales given the circumstances, with over half a million roses sold, most thanks to shipments throughout Thursday.

Florists say that the fact that many orders were put in several days in advance helped them buy enough roses from wholesalers.

"We are very satisfied with the response we have received from people and the florists' professionality, and we are not aware of there being any incidents when it comes to delivery," said Joan Guillén, president of the guild of florists.

Yet, he admitted that such stores worked at their full capacity given the circumstances and could not serve everyone. "Probably thousands of people" also wanted roses delivered to their homes, he added.

Booksellers, hopeful of July 23

As for the other quintessential Sant Jordi element in Catalonia, books, booksellers said it was a "sad" day and reported that sales were far lower than those seen on a normal year.

"It was not Sant Jordi. We have postponed the Book Day to July, when we will need the impact," said Maria Carme Ferrer, president of the booksellers' guide, to the Catalan News Agency. Booksellers and florists have agreed to hold Sant Jordi festivities on July 23.

Although she avoided estimating the percentage of sales compared to a normal year, when turnover in one day tends to exceed the 20 million euro mark, she said the losses of Thursday will be similar as those of the whole first term of 2020.

Yet, bookshops were able to make some sales online and in advance – for instance, the Llibreries Obertes initiative said 45,000 books had been sold in the past few weeks, which equals one million euros to the 457 bookshops taking part in the campaign.

Libelista, together with other initiatives to sell books online, reported three times more sales than a normal day. 

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  • A woman walks past a closed florist on April 23 in Barcelona (by Mar Vila)

  • A woman walks past a closed florist on April 23 in Barcelona (by Mar Vila)

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