Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Return to Sender; VICKY SHAW Looks at How Shops Are Feeling the Impact from All the Items We're Taking Back

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Return to Sender; VICKY SHAW Looks at How Shops Are Feeling the Impact from All the Items We're Taking Back

Article excerpt

Byline: VICKY SHAW

SO, YOU think you've found the perfect outfit, only to find that in the size you picked, you can hardly pull the material over your limbs - or, equally annoyingly, it completely swamps your frame.

If this sounds familiar, you're far from alone. Shoppers' frustrations at clothing being either too big or much smaller than they'd imagined are seen as a major driver behind the large number of items generally wending their way back to shops after we've bought them.

It's also causing a headache for retailers, as many of us now buy items fully intending to send at least some of them back.

According to research from Barclaycard, UK shoppers are returning around PS7 billion-worth of purchases every year.

A quarter (26%) of retailers have seen a rise in returns in-store and online over the past two years.

The figures are particularly high among fashion, footwear and accessory retailers, as consumers increasingly change their minds after making a purchase, with nearly two-fifths (37%) of these businesses reporting that refunds have risen since 2016.

Here is a look at our habits when it comes to returning shopping - and the impact it's having.

| Just how much clothing are we returning? Staggeringly, Barclaycard found nearly half the amount people spend on clothes online each year, ends up being refunded.

While we splash out PS313 on average on online clothes shopping each year, PS146-worth of this is sent back.

A third (33%) of shoppers say they buy clothes online expecting that items will be unsuitable before they've even tried them on.

| What impact is variation in sizing having? Barclaycard found the number one reason given by shoppers for returning clothes is the way in which the same clothes size can vary.

Two-fifths (40%) of people return clothing bought online, because items don't fit as they expect.

Nearly one in 10 (9%) shoppers have taken to buying multiple sizes of the same item and returning those that don't fit.

| What else is encouraging us to make so many returns? Many people also see returning items as relatively easy - as well as often being free. …

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