Analysis: How can retailers stem the returns avalanche?

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As the glow of the golden quarter begins to dim, retailers face a surge of returns. What can they do to keep the spiralling cost of processing returns down?

The Royal Mail predicted that on January 2, which was dubbed ‘Takeback Thursday’, returns of online purchases would have spiked by as much as 72% compared to the average number of returns per day in December.

As consumers seek to return a mountain of unwanted Christmas purchases, the costs of processing goods and paying out the refunds predominantly fall on retailers.

Data from third-party returns processing firm B-Stock indicates that as much as £60bn of products are returned to UK retailers every year, and about £21.2bn of that is sent back between January and March following the Christmas period.

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