DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Consumers face more challenges this holiday season beyond the usual "too much to do, not enough time" dilemma. This year's economic climate has added "too much to buy, not enough money" worries to heighten many Americans' holiday stress level. While the 7-Eleven® store on the corner may not be a mammoth mass merchandise retailer, it offers a surprising number of both time- and cost-saving gift ideas that might calm holiday anxiety.
"You may not be able to do all of your holiday shopping at a 7-Eleven store, but you might be surprised at the number of presents you can buy at one of our stores and check off your gift list while stopping to fill up your gas tank, grab a morning cup of coffee or to buy a lottery ticket," said Kevin Elliot, 7-Eleven, Inc. senior vice president for merchandising, logistics and marketing.
Gift cards continue to top most holiday wish lists this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), and 7-Eleven stores have a wide variety of them - even one of its own. Videogame sales are predicted to remain strong this holiday, regardless of the economic downturn. 7-Eleven's got them, too. GPS devices? Digital picture frames? Wine charms? Check, check and check. Perhaps one of the best values in stores is the prepaid Virgin wireless phone; all models are priced at just $7.11 (naturally), but they are going fast. Lottery tickets? Another great idea for a stocking stuffer or holiday gift exchange.
Time is at a premium during the holidays as millions of Americans race from one shopping center to another, to neighborhood and office parties, attend special events and religious services, decorate homes and wrap gifts, all piled on top of their regular daily activities and routines, like work and school. So to save consumers time, 7-Eleven stores are stocked with holiday gifts that are quick and easy to purchase, giving harried shoppers more time for other holiday festivities and saving them money that would be spent on gas while driving from one store to another.
7-Eleven has expanded its gift selection this year to offer a wider assortment of items for every budget.
Although some shoppers say they will be buying fewer gift cards, the NRF's 2008 gift card study reports that the number of consumers who would like to receive a gift card has increased this year.
7-Eleven offers more than 20 different cards good at online music, game, electronics, sporting goods, home improvement and department stores, as well as restaurants and entertainment venues. Cards are available to fit every shopping budget.
Prepaid cards like the Vanilla Visa offer recipients the greatest flexibility and can be spent on "needs" like groceries and gas or "wants" that may have been put off. The reloadable 7-Eleven gift card can be used to fuel up the car, keep someone fueled on coffee and Slurpee drinks for a year, or refill a prepaid wireless phone in the coming year.
For a gift of entertainment, shoppers can combine a gift card good at Chili's Grill & Bar/Romano's Macaroni Grill/On the Border/Maggiano's restaurants, or one from TGI Friday's or Applebee's with an AMC movie card for a "dinner-and-a movie" package. New Apple iPhones and iTouch players have created a hot market for the new games and other applications playable on these devices. 7-Eleven has added a new $50 card to its iTunes lineup that can be used at the online store to purchase downloadable music, videos, games and other must-have features. Other retailer gift cards to choose from include JCPenney, GameStop, Lowe's Home Improvements Stores, Foot Locker and Bass Pro Shops.
This year's ultimate value gift at participating 7-Eleven stores is the ultra-low-priced prepaid Virgin wireless phone with a suggested retail price of $7.11, while supplies last. The Virgin brand communicates young, fun, innovation and value, with its pay-as-you-go cell phones.
While kids seek independence and the ability to stay connected with friends, parents just want to stay connected with their kids - whatever the age. Prepaid cell phones are popular with parents for obvious reasons - control of cost and usage. Pair the $7.11 Virgin Mobile phone with a Top-up Anytime Minutes card, some with rates as low 5 cents per minute. Another handset available for under $10 is the TracFone brand at $9.99.
Predicted to be the hottest sellers this holiday season, these game titles are available, while supplies last, as part of 7-Eleven stores' new videogame line-up: Guitar Hero: World Tour-Band Kit (Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii), Fallout 3 (Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PS3 or PC), World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (MMOG available on PC only), 007: Quantum of Solace (Xbox 360, PS3 and PS2), Gears of War 2 (exclusive to Xbox 360), WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 (Xbox 360, Sony PS3 and PS 2) and Call of Duty: World at War (Xbox 360, PS3).
Displayed next to the console games is a broad selection of game gift cards to make virtual purchases in Massively Multi-player Online Games (MMOG) or pay monthly subscription fees. With approximately 20 different cards, 7-Eleven has one of the most comprehensive collections of MMOG cards available for sale, including: Nexon, Habbo, Gaia, Guild Wars, gPotato, Runescape, Aeria, City of Heroes, Exteel, ijji, IMVU, Neopets and Sims2. While offered in various denominations, most are sold in amounts of $10 and $25. Along with the prepaid MMOG cards, 7-Eleven offers prepaid gift cards for the two biggest game platforms - Sony PlayStation Network and Microsoft Xbox Live.
7-Eleven has four cuddly ways to support the annual St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Thanks and Giving campaign, which asks consumers to "Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not." Oatmeal- and golden brown-colored bears and, new this year, yellow and black Lab puppies, each have one paw embroidered with the St. Jude logo and a matching green ribbon and bow around its neck. The collectible, plush animals will be available for purchase at participating 7-Eleven® stores through the holidays, while supplies last. The ultra-soft bears and pups retail for $8.99 each, of which $2 will be donated to St. Jude. Since 2004, 7-Eleven® stores have raised more than $400,000 for the world-renowned children's hospital based in Memphis, Tenn.
A GPS unit can help find that store, restaurant or street without taking the proverbial scenic route. Not getting lost means not wasting gas or losing time, and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices make that possible; however, most sell for hundreds of dollars. That's pretty high-priced, but 7-Eleven is offering one this year for just under $100. The Nextar GPS requires no monthly subscription to operate and retails for only $99.99 at participating 7-Eleven stores.
Digital cameras have taken the picture-taking world by storm, and digital frame sales have grown exponentially as a result - more than 1000 percent from 2006, according to a study by the NPD Group. Seven-inch frames have been the most popular.
An easy way to show off favorite photos, these frames can be enjoyed without dragging out heavy albums. A new item at 7-Eleven stores this year, the 7-inch Nextar digital picture frame costs just $49.99. Gift-givers can personalize the gift by loading grandchildren's photos for grandparents or special event or "party pics" for friends. Or take the show on the road with the Royal 1-inch Keychain Picture Frame. Priced at just $15.99, this handy picture frame ensures never being caught without the kids' pictures to show friends or shots of that special someone.
With sold-out concerts, screaming hordes of young fans and top-selling albums - Hannah Montana (Miley Cyrus) and the Jonas Brothers are hot, hot, hot. So is the Disney television movie phenomenon - High School Musical. That's the top music line-up at 7-Eleven for the holidays. CDs are still the favorite music media for kids and teens, and these three top-sellers are sure to be hits under the tree or in a stocking. Suggested retail price is $14.99 to $15.99.
What does one buy for an oenophile... and just what exactly is an oenophile? For the lay person, that's a fancy word for those who fancy themselves wine connoisseurs. 7-Eleven has a selection of Sonoma Crest wine accessories, named for its award-winning California wines. Choose a red or white, and add a little silver. The elegant silver-toned items include a wine opener, corkscrew, wine cork, wine stopper or wine glass charms that are affordably priced between $3.99 and $7.99. Perfect as a holiday party gift for the host and hostess.
Another holiday tradition is gathering around the... television set. Spend quality family time together at home enjoying some favorite holiday movies. 7-Eleven has the top-seven selling holiday DVDs. Take one home to set the holiday mood. Choose from "Elf," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Polar Express," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and others. Suggested retail price is $15.99.
The gifts are bought; now it's time to wrap things up. Many 7-Eleven stores have that covered with gift bags, wrapping paper, bows, boxed Christmas cards, gift card holders, wine bags, and fiber optics cards as well as ones that make a joyful noise when opened.
"Customers will say 'Oh thank heaven,' if they stop and shop at 7-Eleven stores," Elliott said. "Best of all, those who choose to shop with us can avoid the crowds, park close and shop on their schedule whenever they want - 24 hours a day. We'll be here."
7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses approximately 7,600 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 35,200 stores in 17 countries. During 2007, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $46.6 billion. Named the #1 Franchise Opportunity for 2008 by Entrepreneur magazine, 7-Eleven is franchising virtually all of its stores in the U.S., and is expanding through its Business Conversion Program, acquisitions, building new and leasing existing properties.