For UK retailers, the 2016 holiday period was a let-down to say the least: overall sales volumes for December dropped 2 per cent while some of the largest high street retail giants including Next, Debenhams, M&S and Primark reported lower-than-expected-profits. On top of this, January brought with it an influx of returns: relaxed customer return policies, the shift to online spending (which brings much higher return rates) and increased buyer’s remorse lead UK consumes to bring or send back one in three purchases. This trend, and the growing cost associated with it, creates a new urgency for retailers to rethink their reverse logistics processes. This includes what happens to the merchandise that cannot be returned to virtual shelves and is slated for liquidation.

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