Returns are big business for retailers

via Consumer Watch | Consumer Watch blog, led by Bill Moak.

We’ve all been there: You open that present and are confronted with something you would never, ever have bought for yourself. That light-up Christmas tie. The sweater with Rudolph. The gaudy jewelry. Of course, you would never say anything but a big smile and thank you. If you are a really good actor, you can actually make them believe you really wanted the giant coffee mug with the fish for a handle. “I love it!,” you say convincingly. But, give it a few days for Cousin Eddie to go home and you’re off waiting in line with hundreds of others. The return season will soon be here, and you’ve got lots of company.

According to data from the National Retail Federation, Gift Return Data and Statistics for the 2011 Christmas Holiday Shopping Season:

  • Shoppers are expected to return 9.9% of their Christmas purchases.
  • $46 billion of merchandise is predicted to be returned, which would be a 4% increase when compared to holiday gift returns in 2010. About 33% of shoppers said they return gifts in the NRF 2011 Holiday Returns Survey.
  • 65% of holiday shoppers said they didn’t return a single gift after Christmas 2010.
  • Retail companies absorb as much as 12% of clothing returned and as much as 50% of the cost of returned consumer electronic merchandise.
  • 60% of retailers reported to the NRF that they have been the victim of “wardrobing,” which is the use of high-end clothing and electronics which are then returned for full price after they are used for a short period of time.
  • The U.S. retail industry will lose upwards of $3.5 billion to return fraud.

So which stores are the most popular for returns, and why? Let us know by participating in this poll. We will keep it open from now through Dec. 28, and let you know the results. Here is the link:

Merry Christmas and many happy…uh…returns!


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