Santa’s not the only big attraction in malls this holiday season. Visa U.S.A.’s Free Gift Wrap campaign is drawing crowds for its third consecutive year – and drawing millions of dollars into participating malls.
This year, Visa and its mall partner, Chicago-based General Growth Properties, Inc. (GGP), expect to exceed the results of last year’s program, which helped generate $23 million in sales at shopping centers across the United States. In fact, when surveyed last year, one-third of gift wrap customers said the Visa Free Gift Wrap promotion had been “very important” in determining where they did their holiday shopping.
From now until December 24, 1997, shoppers in more than 100 participating GGP malls across the country can have as many as three Visa card purchases per day gift-wrapped on site for free by volunteers from local non-profit groups. In exchange, these groups will receive donations from the shopping centers. This cause-related component helped the promotion garner a Merit Award for Excellence from the International Council of Shopping Centers in 1996.
Last holiday season, volunteers from more than 150 groups wrapped 585,000 gifts and earned a combined $512,000 for their nonprofit organizations, which ranged from high school clubs to community service associations to local branches of national charities.
“The program really delivers when and where it’s needed most,” said Tom Edwards, senior vice president, market development and acceptance, Visa U.S.A. “Shopping centers see increased traffic during the most crucial time of year; merchants enjoy higher sales volume; and card transaction volume rises for Visa’s member banks. And, of course, busy shoppers get a helping hand, and nonprofit groups benefit from much-needed