News Brief

Consumers May Be Burning Out On Gift Cards

Women's Wear Daily reports that consumers, annoyed with expiration dates and fees associated with non-use, may be tiring of those ubiquitous gift cards: Three-quarters of the 1,500 adults in one poll described some retail practices associated with cards as "irritating."

Growth in the volume of gift cards being purchased has been showing signs of slowing, from about $29 billion in 2006--up 21% from $24 billion in 2005, to a projected $34 billion this year--a 17% rise, based on the findings of TowerGroup, a consulting arm of MasterCard Worldwide.

Beginning next year, increases in gift-card business are anticipated to slow further, increasing 6% in 2008 ($36 billion); 3% in 2009 ($37 billion) and 5% in 2010 ($39 billion).

--Sarah Mahoney

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