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Retailers brace for a flood of customer returns

December 15, 2011 |  6:00 am

Retailers are bracing for holiday shoppers with second thoughts.

People who have already picked up gifts and accessories during the bargain blitz are already flocking back into stores to return them. For retailers this holiday season, that means handing back 9.9 cents for every $1 they rake in, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That's up from 9.8 cents last year and almost 2 cents more than before the recession.

Returns are especially costly for retailers during the Christmas season, because many make 25% to 40% of their annuals sales during the last two months of the year. Every penny counts.

Consumer electronics especially fall victim to buyer's remorse, reported the Associated Press. This year, retailers and gadget makers will probably shell out $17 billion repairing, repackaging, restocking and reselling electronics, up 21% from four years ago, the AP said.

Many shoppers are returning items for a simple reason, the report said. They just need the cash to get by.


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-- Shan Li

Photo: Jordan Camacho,10, right, browses the toy aisle with basketball player Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder and brother Josh, 9, left, during a holiday shopping spree Dec. 13. Credit: Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press