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US: 10 percent holiday gifts returned - study

Tuesday 27 December 2016 | 09:19 AM CET

Nearly 10% of the Christmas-bound purchased gifts make their way back to brick and mortars, a recent study reveals.

Moreover, the rate can be triple for online orders, according to a recent study issued by the National Retail Federation, reports. The vast majority of those goods come back to brick-and-mortar stores, regardless of where they were purchased. At J.C. Penney Co., for instance, more than 90% of online returns are brought to a physical store.

That gives retailers with a brick-and-mortar footprint the chance to sell shoppers new merchandise, which can offset the high cost of returns and help clear unsold inventory. On average, retailers spend about 8% of sales processing returns, according to Inbound Logistics, a trade publication, the source cites.

Shoppers used to visit stores after Christmas to redeem gift cards or hunt for even deeper discounts. But the after-Christmas rush is now also fueled by a surge in returns brought on by a shift to online shopping, providing retailers with a rare opportunity for higher foot traffic at a time that it has been on the decline.

More chains, including Abercrombie & Fitch Inc.’s Hollister chain and Neiman Marcus Group Inc., are bringing in spring goods early so they have fresh merchandise with which to tempt shoppers, according to Craig Johnson, the president of consulting firm Customer Growth Partners. Mr. Johnson estimates the week after Christmas will account for about 14% of this year’s holiday sales, roughly on par with 2015.

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