Local businesses are preparing for Valentine's Day, a popular time of the year for expressions of love and devotion.

The gift shops are filled with cards, balloons, chocolates, teddy bears and souvenirs.

Famous gift shops in HCM City such as Hana and Chip Chip are offering new kinds of souvenirs for couples like colour-changing cups with handwriting from lovers and wool carpets built with LED lights.

The D'Art Chocolate is offering dozens of different kinds of chocolate designs with love themes, including sweet love, cupid and teddy bears.

Most supermarkets and trade centres in HCM City have launched discounts and bonus gift programmes.

At Zen Plaza, the special promotion "Gift of Love" will be organised from February 10-14 to satisfy demand.

Fashion items such as clothes, cosmetics and jewelry are being offered at discounts. Gift vouchers and food coupons will be presented to customers.

"We want to bring happy greetings to early birds and people on this festive season," said Phan Thi Kim Hanh, a marketing official with Zen Plaza.

The Co.op Mart chain's "Gift of Love" promotion to February 19 features discounts of up to 40 percent on clothing and cosmetics.

The French-owned supermarket chain Big C is offering more than 100 kinds of items meant for young couples, including chocolates, couple T-shirts and roses until February 12.

Travel is also more and more popular on Valentine's Day.

Saigontourist Travel Services has launched 20 domestic and foreign tours for this occasion.

The company offers discounts of 10 percent for couples who travel from HCM City to Nha Trang, Da Lat, Sa Pa, and Da Nang - Ba Na - Hue from February 12 to 14.

The HCM City-based tour operator Vietravel has organised honeymoon tours in Nha Trang and Da Lat.

However, people are worried about the sky-high price of products for Valentine's Day.

Nguyen Ba Dung, a worker in Tan Binh District, said most gifts are too luxurious for him and his girlfriend.

"Our love will warm us on Valentine's Day."/.