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Holiday sales see minor rise, gift cards may be a bright spot

December 28, 2012

Retailers hoping for a major holiday shopping boom might be a little bit disappointed when considering the data from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Retailers hoping for a major holiday shopping boom might be a little bit disappointed when considering the data from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The latest report shows that holiday shopping was up .7 percent this year as opposed to the 2 percent rise last year. These gains are important for retailers and may reflect a slight improvement of economic conditions, but at the same time it might suggest consumer reticence when it comes to big ticket holiday shopping.

Gift cards have long been important merchant services for retailers and consumers, allowing recipients to buy what they want without having to worry about sizing or exchanging unwanted items. Retailers saw huge gains from these cards this season, with total spending on holiday gift cards adding up to $110 billion, according to the ICSC. This data is encouraging to retailers and shows that the future of promotional gift cards is secure. Cards are increasingly going mobile, and it seems that although the way that consumers receive cards may change, the popularity of the gifts are increasing. This might be an important lesson for retailers planning budgets for the coming year, and it seems that gift cards will be a sure bet, especially around the holidays.

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