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Next up for retailers: A big wave of gift returns
Retail expert ‘bullish’ on the US consumer amid disappointing November retail sales
KB Advisory Group founder Kristin Benz discusses November’s retail numbers and her outlook for the consumer.
NEW YORK - After shoppers tucked their final Christmas presents under the tree, U.S. retailers are bracing for a record-setting flood of returns of online gifts bought during the deadly surge in coronavirus cases.
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To make the process more efficient, retailers including Walmart Inc and Target Corp let shoppers drop unwanted gifts at FedEx or United Parcel Service drop-off sites.
Others, including Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nordstrom, are offering curbside returns for the first time as efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 have shuttered stores or reduced the number of customers allowed inside.
Returns are set to swell this year. Shoppers seeking to avoid contagion shifted from stores to online – where return rates are historically higher. Retailers also are under pressure to make the process as seamless as possible for the shoppers they want to retain as longtime customers as well as for UPS and FedEx, which are inundated with packages.