Take that back! Returns are big for the holidays

December 15, 2011 • National News

In this Dec. 8, 2011 photo, shelves in a warehouse are stacked with returned merchandise at Liquidity Services in Cranbury, N.J. The items are refurbished as needed then resold. Christmas still is several days away, but shoppers already are suffering from buyers’ remorse. People who rushed to snag discounts on everything from TVs to toys this holiday season are quickly returning those bargains for much-needed cash. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

NEW YORK (AP) — Ah, the warm feelings of the holidays: Comfort and joy. Good cheer.

And buyer’s remorse.

People who rushed to snag discounts on TVs, toys and other gifts are quickly returning them for much-needed cash. The shopping season started out strong for stores, but it looks like the spending binge has given way to a holiday hangover.

Return rates spiked when the Great Recession struck and have stayed high. For every dollar stores take in this holiday season, they’ll have to give back 9.9 cents in returns, up from 9.8 last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s survey of 110 retailers. In better economic times, it’s about 7 cents.

This time of year, fractions of a penny add up. Stores are expected to ring up $453 billion during the holiday season. Merchants make up to 40 percent of their annual sales in the last two months of the year.

Returns are typically associated more with January than December. After all, that hot pink sweater with yellow stars on the sleeves may Login to read more

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