A Sobering Look At Retail Returns


We've long questioned the wisdom of liberal return policies. In 2012 we penned a piece Time to Refine Retailer Return Policies, although it was focused on the consumer end of the return. But this Wall Street Journal piece about merchandise returns, some "$90 billion" worth, really gives us pause. What is the actual cost of retail goods if retailers are forced to throwaway (this merchandise goes to landfills) or sell the goods to secondary markets for pennies on the dollar.

What is driving this huge amount of merchandise returns? Some point to the lack of quality in today's goods. Shoppers joke that the items are made to be disposable and that's how retailers make their profit. Whatever the reason for the huge amount of returns, consumers and the planet are undoubtedly paying the cost.


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