FINANCE

Gift-Card Purchases to Reach Record Highs

BY CSA STAFF

Stamford, Conn., Gift-card purchases are expected to reach an all-time high at $35 billion this holiday season, compared to last year’s actual spending figure of $25 billion, according to the 2007 Holiday Gift Card Survey by Archstone Consulting. This is a 40% increase year-over-year.

The report also found that more than 56% of gift cards are redeemed within the first month of purchase, while 85% of all cards are redeemed within three months. In addition, almost 50% of the respondents spend more than the value of the card upon redemption.

The average American family will spend $184 on gift cards this holiday season. Prepaid credit cards will see the most growth this season as they allow consumers the flexibility to spend by choice, the report said.

Men also tend to spend more on gift cards than women. Men spend on average $61 per gift card vs. an average of $42 for women. About 90% of the highest per gift card expenditures ($200+ per card) are purchased by men, according to the survey.

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OfficeMax names Sam Martin new evp and coo

BY CSA STAFF

OfficeMax announced the appointment of Sam Martin to the roles of evp and coo, effective Sept. 17. Martin will be responsible for all areas of retail, contract and supply chain for the company.

Martin most recently served as senior vp of operations of Wild Oats Markets. Prior to Wild Oats, Martin served as senior vp of supply chain for ShopKo Stores Inc. after having joined the company in 2003 as vp of distribution and transportation. From 1998 to 2003, Martin was regional vp, Western region, and gm for Toys “R” Us, and before that, he served in a variety of operational roles in his 24 years with Fred Meyer Stores.

“I am extremely excited to have Sam [Martin] join our executive leadership team,” said Sam Duncan, chairman and ceo of OfficeMax. “Sam has an exemplary track record in delivering strong operating performance. We welcome his wealth of knowledge as we pursue our near- and long-term goals.”

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Staples adds new board members

BY CSA STAFF

Framingham, Mass. The addition of two new board members at Staples give the leading office superstore operator additional expertise in two areas important for the company’s future growth.

Joining the Staples board were Justin King, ceo of food retailer J Sainsbury plc in the United Kingdom, and Robert Sulentic, group president at real estatate developer CB Richard Elllis. The expertise of a European food retailing executive and a real estate executive who currently oversees European operations should prove useful as Staples is expected to derive much of its future growth from international operations.

King has served as ceo as J Sainsbury since 2004 and prior to that he was with Marks & Spencer and Wal-Mart’s ASDA division. Sulentic spent the majority of his career with Trammel Crow, having joining the company in 1984. He was eventually named president and ceo of the firm which was acquired by CB Richard Ellis in December 2006.

“Justin brings a wealth of retail industry knowledge and international experience and Bob brings exceptional business acumen and commercial real estate knowledge, making them great additions to our strong board of directors,” said Ron Sargent, Staples chairman and ceo.

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