Welcome to the retail returns season — the much less popular sibling of the holiday retail sales. Every year roughly $260 billion worth of stuff bought at retail is returned, 25 percent of which is returned after Christmas, according to industry estimates — everything from ugly sweaters and ill-fitting pants to that thoughtless hot plate and pingpong table that just won’t fit in the basement.

Total annual returns equal 7 percent of everything sold in the US in a year, not counting autos and car parts.

“The return season is in full swing,” said Eric Moriarty, vice president of B-Stock Solutions, which operates an auction Web site that connects retailers like Walmart, Costco and Amazon with resellers.

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