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5 Gift Cards To Avoid For Holiday Shopping

Sears (SHLD)

This gift card made our list last year and it will continue to make the list as long as the folks in charge of Sears and Kmart keep paring off holdings such as Land's End and Sears Auto Centers. Other than surviving this long, Sears has done nothing to instill much confidence in its gift card this year, either.

The company has turned its real estate holdings into a business of its own, selling off stores as they close. Revenue has fallen every quarter this year and the Sears and Kmart brands just continue to get smoked by competitors including Amazon (AMZN), Target (TGT), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Kohl's (KSS).

Sears and Kmart haven't changed a doorknob on their stores since Saved By The Bell was first on the air, largely because such things cost money. While bricks-and-mortar competitors spend up to $8 per square foot painting, updating registers and replacing tiles, the International Strategy and investment Group says Sears spends only $1 to $2 per square foot updating its facilities. The shelves are bare or a mess, the aisles are deserted and the former customer base missing.

This gift card warning applies to Sears and Kmart cards, though the latter will likely be the last card in the deck. Sears Holdings is closing Kmarts at a far slower rate than any of its other shops, so there's a chance customers will squeeze a few more Blue Light Specials out of those gift cards unless Sears decides to sell the lights off, too.
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