CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Pier 1 closing 11 Bay Area stores, half of Americans have unused gift cards, and the FDA approves new drugs for over-the-counter sale

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 11 Bay Area Pier 1 stores to close as company files for bankruptcy

Pier 1 announced Monday that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and closing down 450 of its retail stores.

Closing dates for the stores may vary, and some stores have already closed their doors. Consumers looking for information about their local stores can contact Pier 1 customer service at 1-800-245-4595.

Here are the Bay Area Pier 1 stores that are closed or closing:
  • Colma: 101 Colma Blvd.

  • Cupertino: 20610 Stevens Creek Blvd.

  • Fremont: 39198 Fremont Blvd.

  • Los Gatos: 636 Blossom Hill Road.

  • Napa: 3900 Bel Aire Plaza

  • Novato: 108 Vintage Way

  • Redwood City: 1087 El Camino Real.

  • San Francisco: 3535 Geary Blvd.

  • San Mateo: 2003 Chess Drive.

  • San Rafael: 409 Third St.

  • Walnut Creek: 1902 Mt. Diablo Blvd.

RELATED: Pier 1 files for bankruptcy protection as it struggles to compete against online retailers

Half of American adults have unused gift cards

Check your wallets, pockets, and purses -- there could be hidden money in the form of gift cards.

A new survey by Bankrate Credit Cards found that half of U.S. adults have unredeemed gift cards, credits, or vouchers, totalling $20 billion in unused funds.

The top reason (25%) so many gift cards go unused is reportedly letting the gift card expire -- of course, in California the law generally prohibits gift cards from expiring or having dormancy fees.

The next-most often given reason (23%) was that the gift card holder gifted it to someone else -- so even though they didn't use it themselves, it's possible someone else did.

The third most popular reason for letting cards go unused was that they were simply lost. "Gift cards and store credits are real money, so treat them as such," says Bankrate industry analyst Ted Rossman.

While consumers should take advantage of the gift cards they already have, they are advised to use caution when buying gift cards. Gift cards are one of the most popular forms of payment to scammers, so if a consumer is buying gift cards to pay for a bill or fine, they should double-check with the company or agency they believe they are paying to make sure they're not falling victim to an impostor scam.

FDA classifies three prescription medications as OTC

Three prescription drugs have been approved for over-the-counter (OTC) purchase by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These drugs are Voltaren Arthritis Pain, Pataday Twice Daily Relief, and Pataday Once Daily Relief.

Voltaren Arthritis Pain is the first prescription-strength, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) topical gel for arthritis pain to be approved for OTC sale in the United States. Both Pataday Twice and Once Daily Relief are eye drop products meant to provide temporary relief of itchy and red eyes associated with allergies.

According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a prescription drug needs to "have a wide safety margin and be effective, and must bear understandable labeling to ensure proper use" in order to be granted OTC classification.

The last time prescription drugs underwent the "(Rx)-to-OTC switch" was in 2017 when both Xyzal Allergy 24Hour tablets and solution were reclassified.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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