Real roses covered with chocolate and roses with perfumed soap are among the special items selling well in major cities ahead of the International Women's Day, which falls on March 8.

Business has been brisk for the last few days at all shops selling flowers, jewellery, clothes or household commodities.

Flower prices, especially of roses, have risen sharply and florists are kept busy throughout the day.

Sales people say this year has seen a larger variety of rose-related gift items.

Roses made with perfumed soap are popular because they are fragrant and long-lasting, they say. A small bunch of soap-roses cost between 350,000 VND and 500,000 VND (17.50-20 USD).

Imported from the Netherlands, roses covered with chocolate have proved quite popular.

Nguyen Thi Van – employee of Flower Box in Ho Chi Minh City, said the chocolate layer doesn't make petals lose their freshness, and do not melt easily.

"We began receiving many orders for this gift several days earlier," she said.
Mini bonsai planted in glass pots are hot items, with young men buying them for their wives or girlfriends, as are gift cards of various kinds including those providing access to swimming pools and spa services.

All gift items of all price ranges seem to be selling well, from a simple glass or a pillow to expensive smart phones.
This year, beside gifts that can be bought directly at shops, several services are being offered in the market, including the sending of "beautiful and meaningful poems" to women through mobile phones.

Several shops and centres in the city have opened classes teaching interested people the art of making cards, ribbons and bracelets.

Since the International Women's Day falls on a weekend this year, several tourism companies are offering tours with special discounts. Many men have also offered their beloved women swimming cards, and spa salons.

In the capital city, the event is being marked by several concerts.

Loi Yeu Thuong (Love Words) will be held at 8pm at the Hanoi Opera House on the night of March 7-8. Well-known singer Bang Kieu and his peers will perform songs of love and friendship at the Cultural Friendship Palace in Hanoi.

Comedies telling the stories of women and couples are also set to entertain the public on this occasion.-VNA