Sears launches Christmas Club card

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Sears Holdings Corp. has introduced the Sears and Kmart Christmas Club gift card program, which allows consumers to save ahead for their holiday purchases at Sears and Kmart stores or online at either merchant's Web site.

Consumers who sign up before October 31 can earn up to a 3% reward, up to a maximum of $100, based on upon the stored value on their cards as of November 14. This is the last day funds can be added to the cards.

Cards can be activated and funds can be added at any Kmart or Sears location as well as online at the merchants' Web sites. The cards can be activated with $5. There are no fees associated with the Christmas Club card.

The company introduced the card in response to customer feedback, said Susan Ehrlich, president of financial services, at Sears Holdings, in a statement. "We heard that our customers were concerned about how they were going to pay for their holiday shopping this year and we wanted to provide a way to ease that concern," she said. "The Christmas Club card provides a unique way for Sears and Kmart customers to start planning for their holiday shopping ahead of the hustle and bustle of the season and earn a reward for planning and saving ahead."

In a recent survey commissioned by Sears and Kmart, 58% of American consumers said they are more concerned about how they are going to pay for their holiday shopping this year compared to last year. In addition, 56% said they plan to save money for the winter holidays this year, with 32% saying they have already started saving for the holidays and another 38% saying they plan to start saving soon.

The survey also indicated consumers are planning to change their holiday shopping habits, with 72% saying they plan to do things differently this holiday season. This include 57% who said they will be spending less on gifts, 53% who will be shopping at more affordable stores and 49% who will be planning and setting a shopping budget ahead of time. And, 33% of those who plan to do things differently this year say they will be using their credit cards less this holiday season.

The online survey was conducted by Kelton Research from August 3 to 7.

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