OPERATIONS

First Data report: Prepaid gift card market healthy at mid-year

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — According to a report released Thursday by First Data Corp., the prepaid gift-card market has remained healthy during the first half of 2011, despite a sluggish economy.

The 2011 Midyear Gift Card update showed that the gift card market experienced a higher rate of growth than U.S. consumer spending.
Using actual POS data from First Data’s SpendTrend database, the 2011 Prepaid Midyear Gift Card Performance Update found that gift card activation volume increased 8.8% — nearly a percentage point more than overall consumer spending volume on credit, debit and Electronic Benefit cards for the same period.

The average per-card amount activated on gift cards expanded 6.1% in the first half of 2011, reversing the prior six-month trend where gift card activations declined on a year-over-year basis.

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REAL ESTATE

DSW ups Western U.S. presence

BY Staff Writer

Columbus, Ohio — DSW said Thursday that it opened two new stores on Sept. 28.

A new store opened at Vintage Oaks Shopping Center in Novato, Calif., and a new store opened the same day in Boise, Idaho, at Franklin Towne Plaza.

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OPERATIONS

Sears financial exec hired by JPMorgan to develop payment services

BY Staff Writer

New York City — JPMorgan said Thursday it has hired Sears Holdings Corp. president of financial services Susan Ehrlich as a senior VP.

Ehrlich will be charged to help create new payments services for customers, retailers and small businesses.

Ehrlich managed Sears’s expansion of payment and credit products over a five-year period for the retailer.

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