Gift cards are an awesome gift but, boy, it’s a tricky time to get them.
Retailers have been in turmoil for the last year or so as stores close and companies go bankrupt. With more of the “retail apocalypse” headed our way in 2018, gift cards are even more vulnerable.
If you got gift cards for Christmas, use them quickly. This goes for any gift card, but especially ones from troubled retailers.
You can’t use gift cards after a company goes out of business, and sometimes a business in bankruptcy will stop honoring them. If a location closes, you’ll be forced to use them online or drive to another city that has the store.
Here’s which gift cards to use first.
- Toys R Us. The toy retailer has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Stores still are open and the company is accepting gift cards, but there’s a chance that could change.
- Shiekh Shoes. This company – it has two stores at Fashion Fair, one at either end of the mall – has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s still accepting gift cards. But since it is bankrupt and owes Nike $16 million alone, use those gift cards fast.
- Charming Charlie. This accessories store, where everything is sorted by color, is in bankruptcy. It’s closing 100 stores, though the company has not said which ones. There is one store in Fresno at Fashion Fair.
- Charlotte Russe. This teen mall retailer remains profitable, but it’s got big-time debt. It recently signed a debt-restructuring deal with its lenders, who now own the company.
- Sears and Kmart. These stores, owned by the same company, are in big trouble. The company is closing stores, losing billions per year and wobbling on the edge of bankruptcy. Kmart is especially vulnerable, so use those cards first.
- J. Crew. This retailer has announced it will close 39 stores by the end of the month. It has not said which ones, so we don’t know if the Fresno store will be among them. J.Crew sales are dropping and the company is losing millions. It made USA Today’s list of retailers on its death watch. The company also owns Madewell stores, which are healthier and have rising sales.