what do retailers do with returns

ms-thriftyAugust 6, 2014

I am particularly curious about what on line and B and M stores do with their high volume of returns, particularly shoes. after reading what these women are doing with particularly higher priced (like $100.00 and up) shoes. Things like putting potatoes in them to stretch them, wearing them with damp socks, etc. Makes me apprehensive about buying any on sale items. Not sure what they may do to try to make clothing items work, other than wearing jeans, and other 2% spandex pants, for 3 hours to see if they bag out.

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Mall stores put the items back out for sale. A clue is if the tag is not original -- a handwritten tag, a tag with the price torn off, or a tag printed differently from the most tags. Sometimes, though the tag is completely intact when an item is returned. I think the reason the clerk who accepts the return asks "if there's anything wrong with it" is that they put it in a different pile if it's defective and not to be resold.

I've had mixed experience with online. I recently purchased a dog sling from Amazon that was advertised as used, but it hadn't been used -- the box had been opened and re-taped. I've gotten shoes from Zappos that I'm pretty sure someone had tried on before me.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:03PM
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They rehang back on a hanger or refolded... and go back on the floor for sale
Higher-end establishments may dry clean if something returned that was obviously worn.

.Items on sale for the most part are things that 1)get you into the store and 2)clearing out old inventory to make room.
Don't assume sale items are just returns.

Not sure how shoes are handled--I've always operated under the assumption they wouldn't take them back if they show wear.

I believe returned electronics (for the most) can't be resold as new if box was broken,

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 2:35PM
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Some of it is sold to liquidators who resell it on eBay.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 3:40PM
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I'm a retired store manager for a national chain.

In our stores if an item was returned as defective it was usually marked out of stock. If an item is returned and very obviously worn (over and over) we didn't accept the return. Shoes that were obviously worn (and the customer just wanted a new pair of shoes) weren't accepted as a return either, with or without a receipt.

Clothes that were returned soiled or smelly we took case by case, depending on the item and why it was being returned. For example, a pair of shoes that looked slightly worn but the uppers had separated from the soles was a returnable item. Usually the customer just wanted to exchange them anyway.

Another good example is that after every New Year's Eve lots of dressy clothes and dresses were returned. They would wear them to party hearty then return them wanting a full refund. A good portion of these items still had the original tags attached as the wearers just tucked the tags inside the clothes and taped them down so they wouldn't show. We could usually tell which dresses, etc., were worn for holiday partying as they had deoderant stains, BO smells, heavy cigarette smells and booze stains. A few with barf smells and stains too. Ugh..... All those were refused as well as we knew they weren't sold in that condition.

Often returned items didn't have the original tag but were perfect so they were retagged and put back out onto the sales floor. Some returned items were marked down drastically and put into our clearance section with the tag clearly marked as to why it was marked down. Sometimes it was just a seam that came loose but it was still considered defective but sellable. You would be surprised how fast these items were sold because they were easily repairable and the price couldn't be beat for a few minutes of sewing.

Items that were marked out of stock were listed on a report, manufacturer tags cut out and our price tags taken off. These items, if reusable, were donated to a local charity, the unusable items tossed out. This mark-out of inventory list was then used by our corporate offices as losses, and I believe that they were used on the company taxes as losses or charitable donations.

As Chijim said, most of the items in clearance are items that haven't sold and are being cleared out for new inventory. There's nothing wrong with most of them, just that they didn't sell for some reason, whether it be a size that few people buy, ugly color or style. Most items have a scheduled markdown date, like maybe six to eight weeks after they hit our sales floor, if not sooner, usually seasonal items. Sometimes it's just one or two items left from of a bundle that came in months before. If you notice in a lot of stores right now, most Summer items are being marked down and Fall items are starting to be displayed and sold.

I can only tell you about our stores/chain and not others and haven't a clue as to how online retailers...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 3:05AM
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