Retailers grapple with returns as online sales surge

Dec 29, 2021
Optoro, which manages returns for Target and Ikea, says consumers will send back $120 billion worth of goods this season.
Consumers will return $120 billion worth of products between Thanksgiving and the end of January, according to Optoro. Above, a UPS package handler loads a truck.
Jon Cherry via Getty Images

There's an industry that handles our returns, and it's not pretty

Oct 19, 2021
Companies spend a lot of money processing those returns, and many items that are returned won't end up back on the shelf.
An Amazon delivery driver carries boxes into a van outside of a distribution facility in Hawthorne, California.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Investing like the super rich doesn't mean top returns

Even with access to private equity and hedge funds, investors won't get the same returns as their wealthier counterparts, a study indicates.
"When you have a lot of money, you get access to the best," says Chris Farrell, Marketplace’s senior economics contributor. And the wealthiest can build up infrastructure to monitor and analyze their investments, he added.
Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Retailers have to figure out how to handle all our online returns

Dec 14, 2020
One challenge for those managing "reverse logistics"? Not enough room to store everything we want to send back, one study says.
Packages are processed at a U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Oakland, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

What can past pandemics teach economists about COVID-19?

Economists are adapting models and using social media to try to capture emerging trends in real time.
A group of MIT researchers found that nearly half of those they surveyed are now working from home.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

National Returns Day peaks for the first time before Christmas

Dec 20, 2018
UPS estimates it will process a record 1.5 million Black Friday returns before Dec. 25.
Christmas came early this year ... for the returns department, that is.
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Credit card companies make it easier to return unwanted goods

Jan 10, 2018
Return season is upon us, and one out of four people is expected to return a holiday gift, according to a new survey from Wallethub. But what if that holiday gift you bought for yourself turned out to be the mistake and the window for returns has closed? Your credit card just might be able […]

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It’s the week of epic returns. And, stores hope, added sales

Dec 27, 2017
The National Retail Federation estimates that 11 percent of online purchases will be returned this year. Even though more people are buying online, they are more inclined to make in-store returns, which brick-and-mortar stores hope will translate into added sales.  Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Ten percent of holiday gifts end up getting returned

Dec 27, 2016
But retailers might actually want you to return gifts
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The logistics of returns

Dec 28, 2015
Mail carriers brace for the flood of holiday returns.