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Truth in Sales?

Can someone with a business degree please explain this to me?

I heard a report on NPR this morning about holiday sales at the major retailers, and they made the comment that sales of gift cards aren't reported when the card is sold but when it's cashed in.

I know I have a degree in communications and I never took a business class in my life, but this makes no sense to me. The store gets the money when the card is sold, so even if the receiver loses the card or forgets about it or for some other reason never uses it, the store still got the money, but it never is reported???

How is this legal? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?