The recession isn’t stopping lovers from spending big to win their intendeds’ hearts on Valentine’s Day – even if they do leave until the last minute, according to traders in Marlborough.

But, luckily for their better halves, love conquers all and when the men did eventually hit the shops they were willing to splash the cash.

Florist Hedge Rose, of  London Road, Marlbor-ough, has an array of roses on offer ranging from £30 for half a dozen to £69 for their luxury bouquet.

Owner Kate Howard said: “It’s hard to say whether we’ll meet last year’s sales until the day itself, because it tends to be left to the last minute, but we’ve had a lot of orders come in and we expect to get a lot more.

“I think people are willing to spend the money because women still like to receive flowers and this is a perfect day to buy them.”

Joanna Freeman, owner of Floral Fayre in Marlborough Road, said the men of Pewsey always make a quick dash to the florist to show their loved one they care.

She said: “It’s always left to the last minute because, dare I say it, it’s up to the chaps to organise. So there is always a rush when they hear something on the radio or somebody in the office receives something.

“I tend to steer people away from the traditional red roses because suppliers put the prices up and our prices have to reflect that.  I suggest a mixed bunch with a single red rose in the middle because you only need one to say ‘I love you’.”

Some have gone one step further than a bouquet and if recent purchases in jewellers David Dudley are anything to go by they will be a few men down on one knee this evening.

Sabine Orton, of David Dudley, said: “We’ve had a few people purchase engagement rings in recent weeks, so it could be that they’re planning to propose on Valentine’s Day.

“There has been a steady flow of customers but the weather hasn’t helped, nobody wants to be out shopping for Valentine’s gifts when it’s so cold.

“We’re always happy to help partners who aren’t sure what to get.”

Kasia Caruso, who runs Italian restaurant Pino’s in New Road, Marlbor-ough for father-in-law Pino Caruso, has decorated the restaurant in a Valentine’s theme to make sure the setting is just right for anyone popping the question there.

She said: “We are almost fully booked, and we expect to be fully booked on the day, but what is nice is that groups have booked tables as well as couples, which is unusual.

“I expect people will bring gifts to us on Thursday to present to their partners because that’s what usually happens.  The restaurant is decorated in red with cherubs and hearts.

“I think it’s a shame that it’s just one day because it looks beautiful with the open fire and candles.”