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    Whole Foods Links with Gift Card Program

    DENVER - Organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc. has selected ValueLink, a service of First Data Corp., to implement a comprehensive gift card program.

    DENVER - Organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc. has selected ValueLink, a service of First Data Corp., to implement a comprehensive gift card program.

    Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market is replacing its gift certificates with the program which will allow consumers to purchase and use the gift cards at any of its 139 locations in the United States. Whole Foods gift cards are available in both fixed dollar amounts and in denominations set by the purchaser.

    "Whole Foods Market's goal was to implement a gift card solution that exceeds the expectations of our customers and compliments our overall electronic payment systems strategy," said Bill Payne, director of retail systems for Whole Foods Market.

    Continued growth in consumer awareness and use of gift cards has helped the industry move beyond traditional retail environments, according to ValueLink director of marketing Karen Larsen. "We are seeing tremendous growth in consumer appeal and use of gift cards in the grocery and specialty store categories. In working with an innovative and customer focused company like Whole Foods, we are able to create powerful programs that can enhance the consumer experience and maximize a merchant's product offerings," she said.

    ValueLink and First Data Corp. are headquartered in Denver.

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