Retail payday: Are merchants cashing in on gift card shoppers?

gift card display
gift card display

It's estimated that more than two-thirds of gift-giving Americans handed out gift cards this year. And although the final tallies are not completed, merchants are looking to gift cards to give their bottom lines one last 2009 boost. That's because gift cards typically double traffic in a store: Instead of going in and buying a gift, you go in and buy a gift card, which the recipient will then take back to the store to cash in. But experts say the "double traffic" theory only works if people actually use their gift card.