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'Tis the season for returns
Retailers discuss next big event in economic calendar
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Forget about washing the sinkful of dirty dishes or gathering up those piles of wrapping paper, there’s some after-Christmas shopping and gift-returning to be done.
In a survey of retailers across the country, the National Retail Federation found that the amount of returns typically rises after the holiday season, from an annual average of 7.3 percent to a post-holiday rate of 8.8 percent. Local retailers say they expect to see plenty of returns in addition to shoppers looking to take advantage of post-holiday sales.
The Hinesville Walmart store expects to see customers returning mostly clothing, according to one of the store’s operators. Walmart planned to open several extra lanes on Saturday to accommodate customers who were bringing back items.
“The lines are usually 15 people deep,” the operator said.
The Post Exchange on Fort Stewart, Peebles department store and Beall’s Outlet store also expected heavier than normal crowds for post-Christmas returns and exchanges. PX manager Robert Pickering said electronics are the most-often returned item in the on-post store, while Beall’s will likely see mostly clothing coming back, said store manager Nicholas Emerole.
Big Lots’ anticipated crowd was expected to be for after-Christmas sales, said manager Terry Taylor.
“We expect a pretty decent crowd, but we don’t get a lot of returns,” Taylor said.
Each of these retailers are sticking to a standard return policy, especially since many gifts come without receipts. At Walmart, returns without receipts receive in-store credit, usually in the form of gift cards. Store credit is also issued for non-receipt returns at Peebles and Beall’s, while the PX will use gift cards. Big Lots issues refunds and exchanges only with a receipt, Taylor said; however, the Hinesville store posted signs stating the policy and offered gift receipts in the days leading up to Christmas.
Those who didn’t get what they wanted and have the cash to spend, or were just waiting for great deals, were expected to add to the weekend crowds. “We are expecting a lot of traffic” because of Peebles’ sales, assistant manager Lee Deen said. Pickering was anticipating the same result for the PX. “It will be a busy day,” he said.
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