Retailers expect more holiday returns

Shoppers walk through the Manassas Mall in Manassas, Va

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Maybe you got an ugly sweater, or a pair of jeans that were just too small. Before, you'd probably throw them aside, maybe give them to somebody else for their birthday. But the return lines this year could be a little longer. Andrea Gardner explains.


Andrea Gardner: Retailers are bracing for an onslaught of returned holiday gifts this weekend. Joe LaRocca from the National Retail Federation says that's because more consumers are strapped for cash, and as a result, more practical about what they keep.

Joe LaRocca: It might be the wrong size or the wrong color, and historically they might have kept the item in their closet or even re-gifted the item to someone else. And in today's environment, they're bringing the item back to the store, using the money for something that meets their needs immediately.

And retailers are making returns easier this year. LaRoca says more than half of stores surveyed said they would relax their return policies. Only a third said the same thing last year.

So why should a store -- already hurt by the economy -- make it easier for a customer to reverse a sale? LaRocca says it comes down to customer service. When consumers get what they want, they're more likely to come back to spend money.

In Los Angeles, I'm Andrea Gardner for Marketplace.

About the author

Andrea Gardner is a journalism professor and writer in Pasadena, Calif.

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