With many schools and businesses preparing to break for the winter holidays this week, Starbucks anticipates record purchases and activations of Starbucks Cards Thursday. Last year, more than 2 million Starbucks Cards were purchased in the U.S. and Canada on the Thursday before Christmas – representing nearly 1,500 cards purchased per minute in the U.S. and Canada.

"One in every 10 American adults received a Starbucks Card last holiday season, and we're on track for another record performance in Starbucks Card sales, as we celebrate our 13th year of offering Starbucks Cards. We are predicting that this Thursday and next Monday, Dec. 23, will be our busiest days for cards sales," said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer for Starbucks.

According to the National Retail Federation, eight in 10 shoppers will purchase a gift card this holiday season. Since the Starbucks Card launched 12 years ago, $16 billion has been loaded on 450 million cards in 27 countries worldwide. Of that $16 billion, $4 billion was loaded onto Starbucks Cards worldwide in the past year.

The cards are for sale more than 80,000 places in North America alone, said Cliff Burrows, group president Americas, EMEA & Teavana, who pointed out that customers can find them in retail stores, local grocery stores, drugstores and online.

"Our store partners, e-commerce teams and social gifting channels are ready for strong activity in these final days before Christmas," he said.

When customers register a Starbucks Card with the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, they start earning Stars that can be redeemed for Starbucks beverages and food.

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