Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gift Card Warning!

As a pilot, my husband, Bob loves this warning sign. But it's not too funny if your car has ever been hit by a crop dusting airplane! This holiday season has a HUGE warning sign attached to it regarding what consumers chose as their #1 gift option for the last two years--GIFT CARDS!

With all the store closings, you really have to be cautious in buying gift cards because when a store files for bankruptcy or closes, it's up to the bankruptcy courts & too often, they don't have to honor the existing gift cards. Some closed stores are walking away from 20 million dollars in unhonored cards!

So, if you want the convenience and portability of a gift card, then stick to the prepaid credit cards (Visa is a common one that I use for my college kids) or a major store that ain't gonna ever close like . In fact, some families may appreciate a card to a major discount retailer because it will allow them to buy groceries and clothing without having you, the giver, go to the additional expense of what a prepaid Visa card costs.

Here's a list of stores that are cutting back, closing or have closed. If you have exisiting gift cards for these stores USE THEM NOW!

Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide A company spokeswoman said the company hasn't revealed which stores will be shut. It will let the stores that will close this fiscal year know over the next month.

Circuit City – strong potential for closure

Linens n Things – all closing

Mervyns – all closing

Eddie Bauer to close more stores Eddie Bauer has already closed 27 shops in the first quarter and plans to close up to two more outlet stores by the end of the year.

Cache closing stores. Women's retailer Cache announced that it is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide.

Talbots, J. Jill closing stores. About a month ago, Talbots announced that it will be shuttering all 78 of its kids and men's stores. Now the company says it will close another 22 underperforming stores..

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores. In addition to its namesake chain, Gap also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic . The company said the closures - all planned for fiscal 2008 - will be weighted toward the Gap brand.

Foot Locker to close 140 stores.

Zales, Piercing Pagoda closing stores. The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. Today, it announced that it is closing another 23 underperforming stores.

Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores. The Walt Disney Company announced it acquired about 220 Disney Stores from subsidiaries of The Children's Place Retail Stores. The exact number of stores acquired will depend on negotiations with landlords. Those subsidiaries of Children's Place filed for bankruptcy protection in late March.

Home Depot store closings Nearly 7+ months after its chief executive said there were no plans to cut the number of its core retail stores, The Home Depot Inc. announced Thursday that it is shuttering 15 of them amid a slumping U.S.economy and housing market.

CompUSA (CLOSED) clarifies details on store closings. Any extended warranties purchased for products through CompUSA will be honored by a third-party provider, Assurant Solutions. Gift cards, rain checks, and rebates purchased prior to December 12 can be redeemed at any time duri ng the final sale. For those who have a gadget currently in for service with CompUSA, the repair will be completed and the gadget will be returned to owners. http:// www.

Macy's - 9 stores.

Hollywood Video/Movie Gallery - 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy.

Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores.

Pep Boys - 33 stores.

Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations.

J. C. Penney, Lowe's are scaling back.

Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+ stores in an effort to cut costs.

Wilsons The Leather Experts - 158 stores.

KB Toys posted a list of 356 stores that it is closing around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. To see the list of store closings, go to the KB Toys I nformation web site, and click on Press Information.

Dillard's to Close More Stores. Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing underperforming stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008. At the company's annual shareholder meeting, CEO William Dillard II said the company will close another six underperforming stores this year

A Happy Shopper is a Cautious Shopper!

Ellie Kay

America's Family Financial Expert (R)