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Retailers hoping for lucrative Christmas season, changing return policies

Arizona retailers are hoping for a lucrative Christmas shopping season this year, while return policies are changing for some stores.

Retailers trying to close returns gap

A National Retail Federation report found that returns accounted for more than $816 billion in lost sales last year. This holiday season, more retailers are trying to close that gap.

Narvar, a post-purchase-logistics company, estimates that 44% of retailers charge a fee to ship something back, up from 33% in 2021.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a recent statement holiday shoppers should ask about return policies and get information about “restocking fees” in writing when possible.

Another National Retail Federation report found minimizing returns, especially for online purchases, may help reduce emissions on both the retailer’s and consumer’s end.

This comes as a growing sector of the economy, called “reverse logistics,” sees companies leaning toward repairing, reselling and recycling products.

'We anticipate that it will be a good season'

The retail market is seemingly hopping despite inflation.

Michelle Ahlmer, the head of Arizona Retailers Association, predicts it's going to be a good Christmas shopping season.

"It didn’t seem to slow down Halloween shopping, which was highest ever. And so we anticipate that it will be a good season, but people may shop differently," Ahlmer said.

Ahlmer also says pre-planning for shipping is key, because the industry is still facing timing issues.

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Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.