Christmas may be over, but holiday commerce continues

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Christmas day may be over, but the commerce aspect of the holiday continues into the next day and weeks.

“I mostly shop after Christmas for myself,” said Pearley Bolton, who picked up some things in Talbots the day after Christmas. “And you got you a little Christmas money. So I use it after Christmas for the sales.”

It’s also a time for returning something that may not have been on your list or dosen’t fit.

“Absolutely…get it over with,” said Sam Thomas, who returned some shirts that didn’t fit at Jos. A. Bank.

Jos. A. Bank store Manager Freddie Jackson says about 30 percent of the merchandise his store sells over the holidays is brought back. He estimates about two-thirds will be exchanges, and the rest will be returned.

“A few small returns…but I think that’s going to be great also,” he said.

But other businesses are less optimistic. A few years ago, Best Buy estimated that returns, replacements and damaged goods cost the retailer $400 million. On the bright side, holiday spending was projected to increase 3.6 percent this year. Part of the reason for that? This year featured 31 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is two more than last year.

But shoppers spent more than 10 percent online.

“Things that I couldn’t find in the store, I found online,” Bolton said. She says she did about half of her holiday shopping online.

But returning goods bought online can be troublesome for consumers and retailers.

For retailers, the reverse supply chain of returned products creates billions of tons of waste each year, according to a logistics firm that deals in returning goods. The CEO of that company says reselling returned items dosen’t make sense economically for some retailers, therefore, about 30 to 40 percent of returned items end up being thrown away.

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