Home Depot has taken a $43 million hit for gift cards that are unlikely to be redeemed.
The gift card "breakage" report is the first from the nation’s second largest retailer. "Since we had not reported breakage before, this was essentially just catching up," said Diane Linke, Home Depot marketing manager. "Going forward, there will be additional breakage reports, but not nearly on the magnitude of this quarter."
In 2004, about $55 billion worth of gift cards were sold, according to John Gould, director of bank cards at TowerGroup, a financial services consulting group. About 10 percent of the value of such cards sold in the U.S. isn’t used when consumers "put them in their back pockets and forget about them," Gould said.
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