Kate Bradshaw, vice president of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, said gift card transactions are generally viewed positively by business owners. She said it makes it easier for givers to provide a gift of the receivers' preference, and in some cases will introduce new customers to a store or restaurant.
"I think it's safe to say (merchants) wouldn't provide them if they weren't mutually beneficial," Bradshaw said. "Retailers are interested in accommodating the consumer and shopper in a number of ways."
Holiday shopping in the U.S. is expected to grow by 4.1 percent to top $586 billion this year, according to the most recent estimates by the National Retail Federation.
"This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession," National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a prepared statement. "In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we’ll see solid holiday sales growth this year."
Bradshaw said the Utah Retail Merchants Association relies on the national federation's retail forecasts, but added that Utah has typically fared better during the recession than neighboring states.
"We are looking forward to a good holiday season this year," she said.
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