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Report: Black Friday gift-card performance up 17.8%


Atlanta Payment solution provider First Data Corp. announced Tuesday that its Black Friday gift-card performance was up significantly compared to last year.

The total dollar value of gift cards activated Friday grew 17.8% and the number of cards activated grew 9.8%. For the season, First Data predicts that gift-card performance will remain flat or increase slightly compared with last year. According to the company, approximately three-quarters of gift-card purchasers indicate that they buy their gift cards within two weeks of the holidays, so the vast majority of gift-card sales are expected to occur in the weeks ahead.

The dollar value of specialty retail gift cards activated Friday soared 46.9% and the number of specialty retail cards activated grew 39.7%. The specialty retail category includes merchants that sell clothing, electronics, books, sporting goods, hardware, music, video, beauty supplies, home goods and other items.

Overall, the number of gift cards activated for the week was comparable to last year; however, the dollar value loaded onto cards grew 5.7%, from $34.17 to $36.13.

For specialty retailers, Black Friday saw the greatest increase in gift-card performance, but activity was strong throughout the week, with a 13.4% increase in the number of cards activated and a 22.2% increase in the dollar value of specialty retail gift cards.

Dollars loaded on restaurant gift cards grew 3.4% for the week, while the number of cards activated decreased 2.9%.

The First Data Holiday Gift Card Performance Report compares gift-card sales for the week ending Nov. 29 with the same period in 2008. The numbers in this report are based on aggregate transaction data generated by First Data’s gift-card processing business.

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