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Belk to give away $2m to shoppers over the Thanksgiving weekend
November 11, 2017
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CHARLOTTE: Charlotte, N.C.,-based department store Belk is giving away $2 million in gift cards in order to draw customers to its stores over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The chain said in a statement Tuesday that on Thanksgiving this year, it will give away $1 million in gift cards to customers, including to the first 250 customers in line. There will be at least one $1,000 winner in every store, Belk said. On Black Friday, the retailer will give away another $1 million in scratch off cards. Belk said each store will give away scratch off cards to at least the first 150 customers in line.

In addition to the giveaways, Belk is partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a local family. Each store is responsible for raising the funds for part of a home, such as a kitchen or bedroom. This is the first time Belk is giving away a home for the holidays, a spokesman said.

The giveaways are available at all of Belk’s 294 stores across its 16-state footprint. The stores’ hours for the Thanksgiving weekend this year are the same as they were last year: 4 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thanksgiving, then 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on Black Friday.

Belk’s store giveaways come as shoppers are increasingly doing their holiday shopping online, diluting the impact of the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend. Still, it is the busiest weekend of the year for retailers nationwide.

The National Retail Federation said recently it expects sales in November and December this year to rise 3.6 percent to 4 percent, to a range of $678.7 billion to $682 billion. Shoppers in Charlotte plan to spend $605 on average this holiday season, according to a recent survey from Accenture.

Meanwhile, in the heart of San Diego’s biomedical community, in a tourist-friendly setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean, civic leaders officially kicked off a program to attract wealthy patients and their families.

DestinationCare San Diego unites four local health care systems along with the San Diego Tourism Authority to market the region.

The message is that San Diego has a rare combination of a tourist-friendly climate, advanced research expertise in critical areas such as genomics, and excellent clinical care. So while patients are cared for, their friends and family members can enjoy all San Diego County has to offer.

The announcement was made Monday at the Worth Health Summit, held at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, the kind of high-end resort affluent travelers frequent.

Speaking were Joe Terzi, the tourism authority’s president and CEO, and Malin Burnham, a veteran philanthropist who provided $100,000 to get the program off the ground. The tourism authority is also supplying funding.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer endorsed the initiative in a brief appearance.

The summit included a presentation by genomic pioneer J. Craig Venter, whose enterprises include Human Longevity, a La Jolla company that offers in-depth health examinations with the newest technologies.

UC San Diego Health System, Scripps Health, Sharp Healthcare and Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego constitute the program’s four anchors. It’s expected that other quality health care providers will be added, Terzi said.

But first, the program has to get off the ground.

“The goal has been to start with this nucleus, because they are the primary (health care) institutions in the San Diego, “ Terzi said. “So once we start to move out, there is a discussion about where do we extend, and how far. Because we want the treatment to be rated very highly.”

Rankings by US News & World Report will guide addition of other institutions, Terzi said.

Advanced biomedical centers such as Human Longevity are “absolutely” on the list to be included, Terzi said.

The goal is to start with hospitals that offer the best care for the sick, and then to extend to programs such as Human Longevity, which are more concerned with helping people live a long and healthy life by detecting problems early on, he said.

DestinationCare San Diego is meant to become self-sustaining, Terzi said. Options to be considered include commissions from hotels on visiting patients, payments from hospitals, or other sources.

“But right now we have identified the money necessary to get to the second year. After that we’ll decide what the best approach is.”

Burnham said he got involved in the project because it would be good for San Diego. Getting the leaders of the four hospital systems together was challenging, he said, because repeated attempts at scheduling failed.

Then Burnham hit on the idea of inviting them to dinner at his house.

“Finally, we agreed on a date, and I will tell you that the meeting was perfect,” Burnham said. “Everyone was cooperative.”

At that meeting, each leader agreed to assign a senior executive to represent their organization, he said.


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