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ICSC: Gift card sales to drop

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The International Council of Shopping Centers has released results of a consumer survey that points to an expected 5 percent drop in gift card sales this holiday season.

Research firm Archstone Consulting released its 2008 Holiday Gift Card Survey, which examined the shopping habits of more than 1,000 consumers across the United States of various age groups, genders and regions.

“We expect gift card sales to dip 5 percent to $25 billion in holiday 2008 as consumers continue to manage the challenges of higher gas prices, higher food prices and a sluggish economy,” said Dave Sievers, principal at Archstone, in a press release. “While our survey found that only 24 percent of consumers plan to increase their spending on gift cards in 2008, potential retail bankruptcies and the potential loss of card value are not factors.”

Among the survey’s key findings:

• Pre-paid bankcards, offered by Visa and American Express, will continue to be the most desired by gift recipients this year, as they were in 2007.

• Teenage and post-college consumers will represent the bulk of the increase in gift card purchases.

• Sales of gift cards through outside locations, such as grocery, drug stores, banks and kiosks are expected to grow significantly, by 30 percent versus 2007.

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True Value store hosts successful “Ladies Night”

BY HBSDEALER Staff

K&B True Value in Annapolis, Md., hosted its first ever “Ladies Night,” on Oct. 3 with more than 110 women attending. In addition to several “How To” demonstrations, the store gave away gift bags loaded with products and coupons and raffled off prizes worth hundreds of dollars.

“With a Target opening next to one of the [area] Home Depots next week, I wanted to remind our customers about our strengths in housewares, customer service and expert advice,” said Jared Littmann, owner of the 10,000-square-foot store.

During the event, K&B True Value staff members demonstrated the following, replacing a toilet flapper and flush lever, installing dimmer light switches, comparing and selecting environmentally friendly cleaners, securely hanging pictures and mirrors, preparing surfaces for painting, replacing door knobs and locks, and planting grass seed and fertilizer.

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Hardware employee celebrates 50 years of service

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wally Lewis, an employee of Grover Beach Miner’s Ace Hardware, was honored recently for 50 years of service at the Grover Beach, Calif.-based store, according to the Times Press Recorder newspaper.

Lewis, who was honored Oct. 1, was the hardware storeOs first employee when brothers Lee and Glenn Miner opened the store in 1958. Prior to that, Lewis managed Brizzilera Hardware in Southern California.

There are now six Miner’s Ace Hardware stores in California. Lewis still works at Grover Beach Miner’s part-time.

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