How Much Will Returns Cost Retailers After the Holidays?

It happens to everyone.

You get an ugly sweater from a well-intentioned relative, or a loved one gives you not-quite the piece of electronics gear you were hoping for as a present during the holiday season. You, of course, offer the proper thank you’s, but as soon as you get a chance, it’s back to the store to return the offending item.

Returns are a major part of the holiday season, and they wreak havoc with stores. In addition to the problems caused by having to restock items, or being left with merchandise post-December that won’t sell, fraud is also a significant problem.

While the post-holiday season is the biggest one for returns, people buying or receiving merchandise as a gift that they then bring back is a problem all year long. “Americans returned $284B worth of merchandise last year,” wrote Carly Llewellyn, marketing director for Optoro, a reverse logistics provider in an email to the Fool. “We expect that number to rise for 2015.”

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Meredith Guerinot

Senior Brand Specialist