Feb 27, 2009
March is National Use Your Gift Card Month

Orlando, FL—Today, Americans are sitting on billions of dollars that may never be spent! Yes, hidden billions squirreled away in dresser drawers, wallets and envelopes that were given to loved ones to buy their most dreamed of gifts.

$7.5 billion – that is the amount retailers estimate was spent on gift cards during the past two holiday seasons that will never be redeemed because of loss, expiration or business closures.

That is why GiftIdeaCenter.com is announcing March as “National Use Your Gift Card Month.”

It’s time to spend money that people already have and was intended to be spent. In today’s tricky retail environment, it is better to use your gift card today than lose the entire value if the retailer goes out of business.

Bankruptcies have abounded this past year with the current economic climate. Linens & Things, Shaper Image, Steak & Ale and now Circuit City have all shuttered their doors. It is hard to predict the next casualty, but if you never use the cards, the value is lost. And who today can cope with losing more money?

GiftIdeaCenter.com President Russell Troutman is guilty of not using his gift cards too. In fact, his lack of use inspired the idea of “National Use Your Gift Card Month.” “I have been cutting back like many Americans and while going through my dresser drawer I saw a few cards – AMC Theatres, Best Buy, Olive Garden, Vitamin Shoppe and others. I realized that this is money for a night out or a well needed reward,” he states.

“Then when I was talking to my accountant, I mentioned the idea and he said, ‘I have a bunch of gift cards I have never used too.’ The idea took hold in my mind and ‘National Use Your Gift Card Month’ was born.”

Why March for “National Use Your Gift Card Month”?
With almost $25 billion spent in gift cards during the 2008 holiday season, it is important to remind people to use that free money before it’s lost. Many put the card away thinking, ‘I will save this to buy something really special’ and then forget about it. Now is the time to pull that gift card out and use it.

“National Use Your Gift Card Month” Helps Businesses
By encouraging gift card holders to redeem their cards, store traffic increases and new merchandise can be showcased. Many gift card holders also spend more than the original amount, adding extra revenue to stores’ bottom lines when it is needed most. Retailers also want their cards to be redeemed. Most will post the revenue when the card is redeemed, not when it is sold.

As a result, we believe “National Use Your Gift Card Month” will gain in popularity in the coming years and stores will even start promoting its use.

So Has Russell Troutman Used His Gift Cards?

“I haven’t used them yet. I am planning to use them throughout March to promote ‘National Use Your Gift Card Month’.”

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