Woolworths Group, which owns Woolworths supermarkets as well as BIG W, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Caltex Woolworths Petrol stations among other brands, announced that all of its gift cards sold from 31 March 2018 will not have an expiry date.
The announcement backed down on a previous commitment to extend the expiry dates from one to three years.
“It means one less thing to worry about for our busy customers, who will have complete flexibility to use gift cards as and when it suits them,” said Chris Cramond, head of financial services and insurance at Woolworths.
Surfwear retailer City Beach made a similar announcement the same day, with expiry dates on gift cards to also be removed from 31 March.
“This will apply regardless of when the gift card was purchased or the dollar value it holds,” the retailer’s COO Anita Dorwald said.
“When customers purchase a gift card, their intention is for the recipient to be able to enjoy the full value of the gift card.
“Eliminating expiry dates means gift card holders will enjoy complete flexibility to use them as they please, without having to worry about losing any residual balance.”
Ms Dorwald said the impetus to make the change came from the NSW government’s decision to introduce mandatory three-year minimum expiry periods for all gift cards, up from the current minimum of one year.
“We decided to take this as an opportunity to scratch expiry dates all together, nationwide. When we first pitched the idea internally it was met with a resounding yes from all stakeholders,” said Ms Dorwald.
“Gift card systems have evolved a lot since we first launched ours back in the early 2000s, with financial structures that better manage the burden for retailers addressing contingent liabilities, so we feel it’s only right we pass these benefits onto our customers.”
It is likely that other national retailers will soon follow suit.
The announcements capped off a difficult week for the retailer sector, with Aussie Farmers Direct calling in the administrators, Doughnut Time being offloaded by its bankrupt founder and Retail Food Group announcing the closure of hundreds of stores nationwide.