If you have any of these gift cards lying around, you'll want to spend them as soon as possible.

I'm guilty of being one of those people who file away the gift cards I get for birthdays and special occasions, only to completely forget about them until they've either expired or the business has completely shut down.

Now is an especially bad time in the Hudson Valley to be hoarding gift cards. Sadly, every week seems to bring news of another restaurant, business or store that is announcing it will shut down.

2020 is expected to be another tough year for retail, as businesses restructure and slim down their operating expenses. Here are five local stores that may not have the brightest future, according to media reports.

Sears
The Sears stores in Middletown and Kingston have already closed and the Poughkeepsie location is in the process of liquidating. If you have a Sears gift card, you may want to spend it now before it turns into a worthless piece of plastic.

Bed Bath & Beyond
The Bed Bath & Beyond stores in the Hudson Valley have been spared for now, but there's no telling when this struggling retailer will decide to shut down more stores. Prudent shoppers should grab those 20% off coupons and put their gift cards to good use while they still can.

Pier 1 Imports
The furniture and housewares chain has filed for bankruptcy and has announced that it is closing up to 450 locations, including the store in Kingston.  If you have a gift card, it's a good idea to spend it at the Poughkeepsie location while it remains open.

Macy's
Macy's is another major retailer that has announced that it will be shuttering stores throughout the country in 2020. Although a list of locations has not been released, some have suggested that lower-performing stores in our region may not make the cut. While Macy's.com is always an option for your gift cards, if you'd like to avoid shipping charges and be able to see the item before purchasing it, you may want to make a trip to your local store now.

Express
The clothing retailer currently has locations in Poughkeepsie, Danbury, Woodbury Common and Middletown. Express has already closed 31 stores this year and anticipates over 100 over the next couple of years. If you're waiting for next season's fashions to hit stores, it may not be a wise idea to hold onto those gift cards.

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