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TheStreet Open House

Buy FTD -- and Flowers -- to Salvage Valentine's Day

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oh, no! Valentine's Day is here!

It'll be OK. There's still time to buy flowers from FTD Companies (FTD), the go-to provider of relationship-enhancing flowers delivered to the front door of someone very special. And you can buy some FTD stock for yourself.

Today FTD has lots of competition, but this iconic brand is a staunch competitor.

FTD provides flowers, gifts and related products and services to consumers and retail florists, as well as to other retail locations in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The company also offers hard goods, software and hardware systems, cut flowers, packaging and promotional products, and other floral-related supplies. You may recognize FTD by their iconic Mercury Man logo, displayed in an estimated 45,000 shops worldwide.

It sells its products under the FTD and Interflora brands, as well as under the Flying Flowers, Flowers Direct and Drake Algar brands through ftd.com and interflora.co.uk Web sites as well as via phone.

Potential investors can read the up on the company at its Web site, including a page about the company's techy side. The company estimates that 95% of FTD orders are electronic, sent via the company's Mercury Network. It is headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois.

The company was founded in 1910 as the Florists' Telegraph Delivery Association.

Appropriately enough, one of its founders was named John Valentine.

Since then, FTD has gone through several corporate iterations and spinoffs. United Online (UNTD) bought and subsumed FTD in 2008. Then, in late 2013, the merger reversed course. FTD was spun off from United Online, which through its subsidiaries provides consumer products and services over the Internet, primarily in the U.S., Canada and Europe. United Online is famous for its generous dividend (which may not be sustainable).

I estimate that FTD will report its latest quarterly earnings on Feb. 19, the same day that its former parent company also is expected to report.

FTD has not only endured but has found ways to reinvent itself. Its Mercury business technology systems are designed to help florists (both bricks-and-mortar and online) with options that can save them money and time, while providing them with the potential for increased profits. Thousands of florists across North America rely on them.

In a world where everyone has to compete with delivery giant Amazon (AMZN) and floral powerhouse Costco (COST), the only way for FTD to employ some brass-knuckles brinksmanship is to out-deliver and outperform. FTD works with "mom-and-pop" retailers that operate locally.

On Feb. 6, the company announced that the board of directors appointed Tracey Belcourt as a director. Belcourt is the executive vice president of strategy for Mondelez International  (MDLZ), the global snacks company, where she leads mergers and acquisitions and is responsible for developing and implementing Mondelez's growth strategy.

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