After Christmas, shoppers head back to malls for returns


Throngs of shoppers milled in and out of stores at area malls on the day after Christmas.

Rachel Terry sat on a bench outside of Forever 21 at the Dayton Mall with her children — taking a break from the post-Christmas crowds. Terry stopped into shop at some of her favorites including Rue21, Old Navy and Toys “R” Us.

“We’re just spending the gift cards we got for Christmas,” she said.

Terry is among the hoards of consumers who are heading back out to local shopping centers and malls to return unwanted gifts and spend gift cards they received as presents. According to a 2017 survey of holiday shoppers by the National Retail Federation, almost two-thirds of people said they made at least one return the past holiday season.

Returns will likely increase as shopping record sales soared in November and December. The National Retail Federation projects that holiday retail sales in the two month this year will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion.

“Due to the continued popularity of gift cards, as well as many of our local and national retailers offering sales and promotions, we expect the Mall at Fairfield Commons to be very busy during the last week of the year,” said Kristie Miller, general manager of the Mall at Fairfield Commons. “We are focused on providing our guests with a dynamic experience during this busy shopping week.”

The continued push comes as retailers saw record spending starting in early November — but a lot shifted online. From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online, according to the National Retail Federation. That beat the 164 million estimated shoppers expected to come during the weekend.

“All the fundamentals were in place for consumers to take advantage of incredible deals and promotions retailers had to offer,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “From good weather across the country to low unemployment and strong consumer confidence, the climate was right, literally and figuratively, for consumers to tackle their holiday shopping lists online and in stores.”

Three out of four holiday shoppers checked return policies before making a purchase last holiday season, and many ultimately backed out of buying an item because of some inconvenient return policy. Some of the major reasons consumers didn’t buy something included: a lack of free return shipping; only store credit offered instead of a full refund; and inability to return items in-store; or too small of a return window of time.

The better the return policy, the more people will shop, according to the NRF.

“Consumers now demand a generous return policy. Research indicates that lenient return policies can lead to increased purchases. During the pre-purchase phase, a lenient return policy can give consumers the assurance and security that they will be able to return a product if they don’t like it,” a NRF report found.

Some retailers have better return policies than others, according to the Consumer Reports 2017. Some of the best retailers for returns include: L.L.Bean, Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco, JCPenney, Eddie Bauer, Harry & David, Kohl’s and Lands’ End, according to Consumer Reports.

The biggest spenders this holiday season were older millennials — 25 to 34 years old — at $419.52. Average spending per person over the five-day period was $335.47, with $250.78 – 75 percent – specifically going toward gifts.

Still local shopping centers stayed busy with shoppers throughout the season — and mall officials say they still have something to offer that consumers can’t get online. Steve Willshaw, general manager of The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek, said shoppers will always go to local malls and shopping centers for the experience of spending time with friends and family and picking their gifts out in person.

“We start to see larger crowds the weekend before Thanksgiving and Black Friday during our Greene Saturday and Tree Lighting events,” Willshaw said. “It stays busy after that.”

FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS

• Woman convicted of teen slaying in Dayton released on Christmas Day

• No more waiting? Kroger looking to eliminate checkout lanes

• Currency of the future? Some argue it’s bitcoin

• Southwest Airlines adds new flight at local airport

• 7 things we learned about lead, local water infrastructure this year



Reader Comments


Next Up in Business

Stratacache debuts VR retail technology
Stratacache debuts VR retail technology

Another Dayton-area company is entering the arena of Virtual Reality (VR) shopping. Dayton-based Stratacache announced it will its debut VR shopping technology at the National Retail Federation’ expo this week in New York City. The technology combines the NVIDIA Holodeck platform with Stratacache digital signage to create an experience that...
Meet Centerville-based Graceworks’ new CEO
Meet Centerville-based Graceworks’ new CEO

Graceworks Lutheran Services has named a new chief executive to lead the growing Centerville nonprofit. Judy Budi will take over March 2 as the new president and CEO of the 93-year-old organization, succeeding outgoing CEO Willis Serr II. The Dayton Daily News previously reported Serr was retiring after 30 years. Budi will be in charge of a large...
State weighs huge solar farm proposal today
State weighs huge solar farm proposal today

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) launches an evidentiary hearing today on whether to approve huge new solar-generation farms for the Columbus and western Ohio-area electric utility American Electric Power (AEP). The case is being watched by regulators, power industry observers, environmental advocates and others. At stake is an AEP proposal...
New flight to Outer Banks coming in June
New flight to Outer Banks coming in June

Budget airline Allegiant plans to add a new flight from Cincinnati to the Outer Banks. Allegiant will start service to from Cincinnati to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks via Norfolk International Airport beginning June 7. One-way fares start at $49. MORE: Old Scratch Pizza to open 2nd location This new seasonal service will operate twice weekly...
Government shutdown leaves breweries, small businesses in limbo
Government shutdown leaves breweries, small businesses in limbo

As the partial shutdown of the federal government enters its 25th day, the closure has created a small backlog of Small Business Administration loans, affecting more than 200 businesses nationally waiting on the loans, an SBA spokesman says. And the shutdown is even affecting the beer business. RELATED: The shutdown is affecting beer  Breweries...
More Stories